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Iconoclastic  writings  that  sparked  the  Sixties 
revolution,  by  the  author  of  Flashbacks  and 
The  Psychedelic  Experience 


Timothy  Leary,  PhD 

The  Politics  of 



by  Timothy  Leary,  Ph.D. 

Ronin  Publishing,  Inc     Box  1035  Berkeley  CA  94701 

Published  by 

Ronin  Publishing,  Inc. 

Post  Office  Box  1035 

Beikeley,  California  94701 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy 

ISBN:  0-91417 1-33-X 

Copyright  ©  1965, 1966, 1967, 1968  and  1990  by  Timothy  Leary 

(originally  published  by  G.P.  Putnam  in  1968) 

All  rights  reserved.  No  part  of  this  book  may  be  reproduced  or  transmit- 
ted in  any  form  or  by  any  means,  electronic  or  mechanical  including 
photocopying,  recording,  or  by  any  information  storage  and  retrieval 
system,  without  written  permission  from  the  author  or  the  publisher 
except  for  the  inclusion  of  brief  quotations  in  a  review. 

Printed  in  the  United  States  of  America 

Ronin  (^.Tedits 

Project  editors:  Sebastian  Orfali  and  Beverly  Potter 

Text  and  illustrations  editor:  Michael  Horowitz 

Typography  and  production:  Sebastian  Orfali 

Special  thanks  to  the  Fitz  Hugh  Ludlow  Memorial  Library 
for  supplying  illustration  materials. 

(cover)   Photograph  of  Timothy  Leary  which  appeared  in  5(9L  maga- 
zine at  the  time  of  his  interview  in  1967  (see  "Soul  Session"~chap.  14). 

to  Abbie  Hojfman 

Previous  editions  of 

U.S.:  New  Yoik:  Putnam,  1968;  CoUege  Notes  &  Texts,  1971;  Salt  Lake 
City:  Magus  Studios,  1984  (40  copies  only). 

U.K.:  London:  MacGibbon  &  Kee,  1970;  Paladin,  1970. 

Gennanv:     Politik  der  Ekstase:  Hamburg:  Wegner,  1970;  Linden: 
Volksverlag,  1981. 

France:  Politique  de  VExtase:  Paris:  Fayard,  1973. 

(Source:  M.  Horowitz,  K.  Walls,  B.  Smith,  An  Annotated  Bibliography  of 
Timothy  Leary,  The  Shoe  String  Press,  1988). 


by  Michael  Horowitz 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  was  originally  published  in  1968 — ^that  turbulent 
year  that  registered  the  assassinations  of  King  and  Kennedy,  the  escalation 
of  the  carnage  in  Vietnam  and  the  anti-war  protests  in  American  cities, 
violent  confrontations  between  police  and  students  in  Paris,  Prague  and 
Chicago,  the  demise  of  the  Haight-Ashbury  and  the  radicalization  of  hip- 
pies, the  rise  of  the  Youth  International  Party,  and  the  beginning  of  the 
Nixon  regime. 

The  same  year  saw  the  publication  of  Timothy  Leary's  first  books  from 
mainstream  publishers:  High  Priest  and  The  Politics  of  Ecstasy.  In  1968 
Leary  and  his  family  moved  from  Millbrook,  New  York  to  Laguna  Beach, 
California.  He  was  planning  to  challenge  Ronald  Reagan  in  the  next  gu- 
bernatorial campaign,  but  six  months  before  Election  Day,  1970,  he  found 
himself  in  prison  on  drug  charges  facing  thirty  years'  incarceration  for 
miniscule  amounts  of  marijuana.  In  sentencing  Leary  and  denying  bail 
while  he  appealed  the  charges,  an  Orange  County  judge  indicated  the  real 
reason  for  the  absurdly  long  sentence  by  holding  aloft  in  his  courtroom 
copies  of  publications  containing  articles  published  in  this  book. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  is  a  collection  of  some  of  Leary  *s  most  significant 
essays  and  lectures  on  psychedelic  drug  e>q)erience  and  the  social  and 
political  changes  that  rang  in  its  wake.  About  three-quarters  of  the  chapters 
had  previously  been  published  in  magazines,  journals  and  underground 
newspapers,  sometimes  with  variant  tide  and  text;  the  remainder  were 
written  expressly  for  the  book.  The  present  edition  is  augmented  with 
graphics  from  the  print  media  of  that  lively  era. 

Illustrations  appearing  in  this  edition  of 


(numbeis  refer  to  page  facing  illustration) 
(cover)  The  author  photographed  by  SOL  magazine  at  the  time 

of  his  interview  in  1967  (see  "Soul  Session"— chap.  14). 
(pviii)     Dust  jacket  of  first  edition  of  The  Politics  of  Ecstasy, 
(pl3)      "The  Seven  Tongues  of  God"  appeared  under  the  titie 

"The  Religious  Experience:  Its  Production  and 

Interpretation"  in  The  Psychedelic  Reader  (1965). 
(p64)      "The  Politics  of  Consciousness  E7q)ansion"  (reprinted 

here  as  "The  Fifth  Freedom— tiie  Right  to  GetHigh")  first 

appeared  in  The  Harvard  Review  (1963). 
(p65)      "The  Politics  and  Ethics  of  Ecstasy"  speech  at  New 

York's  Town  Hall  was  published  in  Cavalier  (July  1966). 
(p70)      Front  cover  of  Art  Klep*s  satire  on  three  leaders  of  the 

Psychedelic  Movement  (1964). 
(p71)      "Psychedelic  Sessions"  Flyer  announcing  Leary  and 

Metzner's  Psychedelic  Sessions  (1965-66). 
(pl02)    The  Psychedelic  Experience,  a  guide  based  on  the 

Tibetan  Book  of  the  Dead,  was  published  in  1967. 
(pl03)    "The  Magical  Mystery  Tour"  appeared  in  an  anthology  of 

writings  about  the  Beaties  published  in  1968. 
(pl68)    "America  Hates  Her  Crazies."  Front  page  of  the 

East  Village  Other  (ApiiilAS,  1966). 
(pl69)    "Turn  Off,  Tune  Out,  Drop  In."  Front  page  of 

Berkeley  Barb  {Sept  1-7, 1969). 
(pl76)     Leary  was  a  co-editor  and  frequent  contributor  to 

The  Psychedelic  Review, 
(pl77)    "Do  You  Want  to  Have  a  Party."  Advertisement  in 

Berkeley  Barb  (July  11, 1969). 
(p222)    Cover  of  the  first  privately  printed  edition  of 

Start  Your  Own  Religion  (1967). 
(p223)    "Death  of  the  Mind."  Advertisement  for  a  "psychedelic 

celebration"  in  the  San  Francisco  Oracle  (Dec.  1966). 
(p290)    The  Leary-Littwin  LSD  debate  was  transcribed  in  the 

M.I.T.  journal  Innisfree  (1967). 
(p291)    "Turn  On/  Tune  In/  Drop  Out."  Front  page  of 

The  East  Village  Other  May  15-June  1, 1966. 
(p318)    A  public  discussion  of  alternative  lifestyles  amongst 

Alan  Watts,  Allen  Ginsberg,  Gary  Snyder  and  Leary  was 

sponsored  by  the  San  Francisco  Oracle  (1967). 
(p3 19)    "God  and  Timothy  Leary."  Cover  of  Ave  Maria 

featuring  Leary  interview  (1966). 


by  Tom  Robbins 

If,  on  the  face  of  it,  the  phrase,  "politics  of  ecstasy,"  seems  an 
oxymoron  on  the  order  of  "wildlife  management,"  please  remember  that 
in  the  Sixties  virtually  all  political  activism  was  connected,  directly  or 
indirectiy,  to  the  ingestion  of  psychedelic  drugs  and  therefore  was  shaped 
by,  if  not  centered  in,  ecstatic  states  of  being. 

In  addition,  there  were  the  politics  that  plagued  our  ecstatic 
enterprises,  themselves,  no  matter  how  we  twisted  and  squirmed  to 
escape  it.  Many  a  commune,  demonstration  or  love-in  wrecked  on  the 
twin  shoals  of  property  and  control.  Then,  too,  there  were  the  political 
jQres  kindled  by  the  friction  of  latter-day  ecstasy  cults  rubbing  up  against 
the  stiff  hide  of  the  old  iguana-brained  Establishment. 

It  is  an  understatement  to  write  that  Timothy  Leary  was  privy  to 
this  stormy  marriage  of  the  mundane  and  the  rapturous.  Simultaneously 
observer  and  participant.  Dr.  Leary  analyzed  events  around  him  even  as 
he  helped  make  them  happen.  Boundlessly  energetic,  keenly  insightful, 
he  was  uniquely  qualifi^  to  woric  both  sides  of  Heisenberg  Street 
Imagine  him  studiously  taking  notes  even  as  he  skated  on  one  foot  along 
the  vibrating  rim  of  an  indole  ring. 

For  those  whose  image  of  Dr.  Leary  has  been  formed  by  shallow 
and  often  malicious  reports  in  the  press.  The  Politics  cf  Ecstasy  provides 
a  more  accurate  picture  of  the  brave  neuronaut  whom  I  believe  to  be  the 
Galileo  of  our  age,  albeit  a  Galileo  possessed  of  considerable  Irish 
blarney  (which  makes  him  all  the  more  agreeable).  Of  more  importance, 
perhaps,  is  the  light  this  book  casts  upon  the  century's  outlaw  decade  at  a 
time  when  Sixties  revisionism  is  epidemic. 

Whether  out  of  ignorance  or  cowardice,  far  too  many  historians 
writing  about  the  period  are  avoiding  any  discussion  of  those  mind- 
altering  substances  without  which  the  Sixties,  as  we  know  them,  would 
never  have  occurred.  Dr.  Leary,  as  might  be  expected,  leaves  no  turn 

Ultimately,  the  Sixties  may  be  viewed  as  a  staging  area  for  the 
next  leap  forward  in  human  evolution.  We  have  left  them  behind  only  as 
panicky  climbers  might  flee  their  base  camp  for  a  temporary  descent  back 
into  the  dark  and  decadent  valley  of  their  origins.  While  millions  may 
have  retreated  into  materialism  and  ftindamentalism,  however,  Timothy 
Leary  has  continued  up  the  mountain,  his  ropes  coiled  Uke  a  helix,  his 
gaze  on  hyperspace. 

For  those  of  us  who  lag  behind,  his  as-it-happened  observations 
of  where  we've  been  are  as  crucial  as  they  are  entertaining.  And  they  are 
entertaining,  indeed,  indeed. 

Dust  jacket  of  first  edition  of  The  Politics  of  Ecstasy. 




by  Timothy  Leaiy 

ECSTASY:  The  experience  of  attaining  freedom 
from  limitations,  either  self-imposed  or  exter- 
nal; a  state  of  exalted  delight  in  which  normal 
understanding  is  felt  to  be  suipassed.  Fh>m  the 
Greek  "ex-stasis".  By  definition,  ecstasy  is  a 
ongoing  on/off  process.  It  requires  a  continual 
sequence  of  "dropping  out."  On  those  occa- 
sions when  many  individuals  share  the  ecstatic 
expeheixe  at  the  same  time,  they  create  a  brief- 
lived  "counter-culture." 

SYNONYMS:  Euphoria,  high,  rush,  delight, 
bliss,  elation,  enchantment,  joy,  nirvana,  rap- 

STASIS:  Standing,  a  standstill 

Please  allow  me  to  reintroduce  this  book  called,  so  prophetically, 
The  Politics  Of  Ecstasy,   I  can  modestly  praise  this  magnificent,  auda- 
cious, oxy-moronic,  oxy-generic  title  because  it  was  given  to  me  by 
Abbie  Hoffman,  to  whom  I  re-dedicate  this  book. 

I  am  writing  this  on  November  9, 1989  the  day  after  the  Berlin  Wall 
came  crumbling  down,  maridng  another  wonderfiil  chapter  in  the  history 
of  the  post-political  Youth  Revolutions  of  the  last  two  decades. 

You  saw  the  faces  of  the  young  East  Germans  who,  for  the  first 
time  in  their  lives,  were  e3q)eriencing  freedom.  You  saw  the  faces  of  the 
young  West  Germans  who  danced  on  the  top  of  The  Wall  gleaming  with 
exultation  as  they  watched  their  Eastern  relatives  turn-on  to  the  hit,  tune- 
in  to  the  rush  of  freedom,  and  drop-out  of  the  past. 

You  saw  it  on  the  faces  of  the  people  at  the  Pro-Choice  demonstra- 
tions around  the  U.S.  four  days  later. 



What  do  you  call  that  state  of  consciousness?  I  would  call  it 

Hey,  I  know  this  e3q)erience  when  I  see  it.  For  the  last  30  years  I 
have  been  watching  intoxicated  insight  explode  on  peq)les*  faces.  You 
haven't  forgotten,  have  you?  Surely  as  you  watched  The  Wall  come  down 
you  remember  when  it  first  happened  to  you.  At  Woodstock.  Or  at  a 
Grateful  Dead  concert.  The  Elation.  The  Rapture.  The  Comic  relief.  I 
could  feel  shimmers  of  freedom  rippling  up  my  spine.  And  I  bet  you  did 

This  night  The  Wall  came  down,  like  my  brothers  and  sisters  in 
Berlin,  I  popped  some  bubbly  and  got  mildly  intoxicated,  stoned,  high. 
And  it  is  in  this  state  of  mind  that  I  write  these  celebratory  lines. 

We  have  been  swept  up  in  a  cultural  whirlwind  revolution  which 
has  country  by  country,  continent  by  continent,  liberated  much  of  the 
world  in  the  last  three  decades.  This  social  movement  is  as  profound  as 
the  spread  of  feudal-monotheism  (which  took  over  10,000  generations), 
as  pervasive  as  the  growth  of  industrialism  (which  from  1456-1960 
involved  2500  generations). 

And  we  have  lived  through  this  even  more  dramatic  change  in  our 

Our  revolution  is  creating  a  new,  post-political  society  based  on 
Ecstasy,  i.e.  the  experience  of  Individusd  Freedom.  This  movement  is  the 
"rapture"  anticipated  for  the  year  2000.  It  is  the  culmination  of  the 
mystical,  transcendental,  spooky,  hallucinatory  dreams  which  we  have 
envisioned  in  our  highest  psychedelic  (miixl-opened)  states. 

What  do  we  call  this  new  movement?  Humanism?  Libertarianism? 
The  Golden  Age  of  the  Individual  Gods? 

Well,  who  cares  what  we  call  it.  Let's  loosen  up.  Let's  glasnost 
each  other.  Can't  we  get  a  bit  semantically  loose  at  this  moment  of 

Oh  yes,  I  remember.  The  message  of  this  movement  is  FREEDOM! 
The  medium  of  this  movement  is  electronic  information.  Marshall 
McLuhan  wouldn't  have  been  surprised. 

This  anthem  was  broadcast  electronically  when  Martin  Luther  King 
"dreamed"  out  loud,  chanting :  "Free  at  last.  Free  at  last.  Thank  God 
Almighty  (sic),  free  at  last."  Look  at  the  faces  of  those  assembled  in  that 
political  orgy  in  Washington  D.  C,  August  28, 1963.  They  are  in  ecstasy. 

This  chant  was  repeated  at  the  Rrst  Human  Be-In  in  San  Francisco 
1967.  It  was  sung  in  Paris  1968,  at  Woodstock  1969,  London  1970, 
Amsterdam  1971,  Madrid-Barcelona  1976. 

Bob  Dylan  sang  it:  We  ain't  gonna  work  on  Breznev's  Farm  no 
more.  They  sang  it  at  anti-war  demonstrations.  Hell  No!  We  won't  go! 

Abbie  Hofhnan  called  it  Revolution  for  the  Hell  of  It.  Abbie 


claimed  to  be  a  Marxist  —  a  follower  of  Groucho,  not  Karl.  Rebellion 
with  a  smile. 

In  the  1980's  this  goofy,  hooligan,  disreputable,  punko,  subversive 
youth  message  was  flashed  around  the  globe  in  electronic  broadcasts.  It 
was  shouted  by  students  facing  tanks  in  the  streets  in  Seoul,  in  Moscow, 
in  Prague,  in  Budq)est,  in  Leipzig,  in  Warsaw.  Etc. 

The  goals  of  this  new  Ecstatic  neo-society  are  to  support,  nurture, 
teach,  protect  individual  freedom  and  personal  growth.  TTiere  is  one  and 
only  function  of  neo-govemment  in  the  Post-Political  Age.  To  protect 
individual  freedom  from  threats  by  individuals  or  groups  who  attempt  to 
limit  personal  freedom. 

This  movement  has  been  made  possible  by  cybernetic-electronic 
technology.  Mind-e^anding  drugs  and  mind-lintdng  quantum  appli- 

This  individual-freedom  movement  is  new  to  human  history 
because  it  is  not  based  on  geogn^hy,  politics,  class,  or  religion.  It  has  to 
do  not  with  changes  in  the  political  structure,  nor  in  who  controls  the 
police,  but  in  the  individual  mind.  It  involves  "thinking  for  yourself."  It 
concerns  intelligence,  personal  access  to  information,  an  anti-ideological 
reliance  on  common  sense,  mental  proficiency,  consciousness  raising, 
street-smarts,  good-natured  sexual  sophistication,  intelligent  consumer- 
ism, personal  communication  skiUs. 

The  rapid  spread  of  this  ecstatic  spirit  is  due  to  the  recent  availabil- 
ity of  brain-change  neurotransmitters  and  electronic  communication 
appliances  accessible  to  individuals.  When  these  psychedelic  foods 
activate  the  brain  and  when  these  electronic  devices  start  gushing  elec- 
tronic information,  people's  minds  begin  opening. 

The  psychedelic-cybernetic  revolution  is  happening  all  over  the 
world.  In  the  1970s  the  new  outsiders  emerged  in  western  Europe  and  by 
1988  the  sandhill  European  states  were  renouncing  war  and  coming 
together  in  Common  Sense  Community.  The  walls  just  keep  crumbling 

The  signs  are  always  the  same.  Young  minds  exposed  to  neurologi- 
cal freedom  and  the  free  spray  of  electronic  information  suddenly 
blossom  like  flowers  in  the  spring.  In  June  1989  in  Tien  An  Men  Square 
the  worid  witnessed  another  dramatic  encounter  between  the  young  ex- 
stasis  and  the  old  stasis.  The  Chinese  students  just  replayed  Woodstock. 
The  geriatric  Chinese  dictators  replayed  Kent  State. 

This  explosion  of  consciousness-information-  communication 
turned  the  Cold  War  into  an  Old  War,  a  generational  conflict  between 
those  bom  before  1945  and  those  bom  after  Hiroshima-Nagasaki  who  are 
creating,  across  national  boundaries,  a  new  species — ^post-atomic,  post- 
industrial,  post-political.  The  first  psychedelic-cybernetic  generation  in 
human  history,  individuals  who  prize  intelligence  and  facts  and  personal 


freedom.  These  are  young  people  who  grew  up  with  electronic  appli- 
ances, personal  telephones,  home  radios,  television  and  personal  comput- 
ers as  primary  aids  for  thinking  and  communicating.  From  birth  they  have 
been  trained  by  television  to  be  reality-consumers.  To  have  freedom  of 

On  June  5, 1989,  a  19-year-old  Wang  Weilin  stood  defiantly 
looking  into  the  barrel  of  an  enormous  gun  mounted  on  a  tank  in  Tien  An 
Men  Square.  He  was  unarmed.  Look  at  the  picture  and  you  see  that  in  his 
left  hand  he  holds,  not  a  gun  or  a  bomb  but  his  school  bookbag  and  in  his 
right  hand,  his  lunch  bag.  His  act  was  a  cybernetic  gesture.  He  and  his 
friends  knew  that  his  picture,  flashed  around  the  world  on  TV  screens  and 
magazine  covers,  would  be  permanently  imprinted  on  the  minds  of 
millions.  A  symbol  of  ex-stasis:  the  icon  of  the  individual  dissenting 
youth  skillfully  using  the  electronic  media  to  confront  a  powerftil  tyranny. 
Just  saying  "no"  to  the  old  ways. 

Power,  Mao  said,  comes  from  the  barrel  of  a  gun.  That  may  have 
been  true  in  the  past.  But  this  week  the  very  notion  of  political  "power" 
seems  anachronistic,  kinky,  hateful,  evil.  The  idea  that  any  group  should 
want  to  grab  domination,  control,  authority,  supremacy,  jurisdiction  over 
others  is  a  primitive  perversity — ^more  loathsome  than  cannibalism.  A 
return  to  personal  or  economic  slavery. 

The  issue  now  is  personal  power,  i.e.  freedom.  And  now  we  see 
that  freedom  depends  upon  who  controls  the  technology  that  reaches  your 
brain -telephone,  the  editing  facility,  the  drugs,  of  course,  and  the  TV 

This  sudden  emergence  of  Pro-Choice  on  a  mass  scale  is  new. 

In  TRIBAL  societies  the  role  of  the  individual  is  to  be  a  submissive, 
obedient  child.  The  tribal  elders  do  the  thinking.  And  survival  pressures 
do  not  afford  them  the  luxury  of  freedom. 

In  FEUDAL  societies  the  individual  is  a  serf  or  vassal,  peasant, 
serf,  chattel,  peon,  slave.  The  nobles  &  priests  do  the  thinking.  And  they 
are  trained  by  tradition  to  abhor  and  anathematize  open-mindedness  and 
thinking  for  yourself. 

In  INDUSTRIAL  society  the  individual  is  a  woricer-manager.  In 
later  stages,  the  individual  is  a  worker-consumer. 

In  all  of  these  static,  primitive  societies  the  thinking  is  done  by 
organizations  who  control  the  guns.  The  power  of  Open  Minded  Individu- 
als to  make  and  remake  decisions  about  their  own  lives,  to  fabricate, 
concoct,  invent,  prevaricate  their  own  lies  is  severely  limited. 

The  INFORMATION  society,  which  we  are  now  developing,  is 
post-political,  and  does  not  operate  on  the  basis  of  obedience  and  confor- 
mity to  dogma.  It  is  based  upon  individual  thinking,  and  scientific  know- 
how,  quick  exchange  of  facts  around  feed-back  networks,  high-tech 
ingenuity  and  practical,  front-line  creativity. 


The  society  of  the  future  no  longer  grudgingly  tolerates  a  few  q)en- 
minded  innovators.  The  Info-Sodety  is  totally  dependent  upon  a  large 
pool  of  them,  communicating  with  each  other  across  state  lines  and 
national  boundaries. 

When  we  send  electrified  thoughts  this  way,  inviting  fast  feedback, 
we  are  creating  a  new  global  psyber-society  which  requires  a  higher  level 
of  electronic  know-how  and  psychological  sophistication.  This  psyber- 
communication  process  is  accelerating  so  rapidly  that  to  compete  on  the 
world  information  market  in  the  21st  century,  nations,  companies,  even 
families  (!)  must  be  composed  of  quick-thinldng,  q)en-minded,  change- 
oriented,  innovative  individuals  who  are  adepts  in  communicating  via  the 
new  cyber-electronic  technologies. 

These  free  men  and  free  women  are  simply  much  smarter  than  the 
Old  Guard.  They  inhale  new  information  the  way  they  breath  oxygen. 
They  stimulate  each  other  to  continually  upgrade  and  reformat  their 
minds.  People  who  use  psyber-technology  to  make  fast  decisions  on  their 
jobs  are  not  going  to  go  home  and  passively  let  aging,  close-minded 
politicians  or  devil-obsessed,  religious  demagogues  make  decisions  about 
their  lives. 

The  emergence  of  this  new  open-minded  caste  in  different  countries 
around  the  world  is  the  central  historical  issue  of  the  last  40  years.  The 
Politics  of  Ecstasy  is  re-appearing  as  a  million  people  are  crossing  the 
border  from  past  to  future  with  rapturous  smiles.  They  are  members  of 
the  consciousness  revolution,  won  without  violence,  won  with  a  smile. 

Back  in  1967,  we  called  this  process  of  personal  freedom  the 
Ecstatic  Experience.  Today  we  call  the  free-agent  who  thinks  for  him/ 
herself  "cybernetic"  fix>m  the  Greek  word  pilot.  The  word  psychedelic 
means  ecstatic  or  mind-opening.  Psybemetic  refers  to  psychedelic  experi- 
ence expressed  in  electronic  form.  The  Japanese  word,  "ronin"  is  also 
used  to  describe  the  highly  skilled,  self-  confidant  free-agent  who  has 
renounced  vassal,  liege  service  to  a  Lord. 

In  the  1950s  in  America  there  s^peared  such  a  group  of  free  people 
who  created  a  counter-culture  which  was  to  change  history.  They  were 
called  The  Beat  Generation.  Their  spokesperson  was  the  poet  AUen 
Ginsberg.  Their  philosopher  hero  was  William  Burroughs.  They  were  an- 
archist artists  and  writers.  They  hung  out  with  avant  garde  painters  and 
jazz  musicians.  They  stood,  of  course,  for  the  ecstatic  vision  and  for 
individual  freedom  in  revolt  against  all  bureaucratic,  close-minded 
systems.  They  saw  themselves  as  citizens  of  the  world.  They  met  with 
Russian  poets  to  denounce  the  Cold  War.  They  practiced  oriental  yoga. 
They  experimented,  as  artists  have  for  centuries,  with  mind-opening 
foods,  drugs,  sexual  freedom.  Most  important,  with  their  minds  turning 
like  satellite  dishes  to  other  cultures,  they  had  a  historical  sense  of  what 
they  were  doing.  They  saw  themselves  as  heirs  to  the  long  tradition  of 


intellectual  and  artistic  individualism  that  goes  beyond  national  bounda- 

What  made  the  Beats  more  effective  than  any  dissident  artist  group 
in  human  history  was  electronic  technology.  Their  ideas  and  their  images 
were  broadcast  at  the  speed  of  light  around  the  world.  Just  as  soap 
companies  were  using  TV  and  radio  to  market  their  products,  so  did  the 
Beats  use  the  electronic  media  to  advertise  their  ideas.  Ironically  enough, 
more  students  in  China  and  the  Third  World  know  the  name  Allen 
Ginsberg  today  than  any  other  American  writer.  Allen  was  the  king  of  the 
Czechoslovakian  Students  May  Day  parade  in  Prague,  of  all  places,  in 
1964.  The  next  day,  after  the  party  officials  realized  what  Allen  had  in 
mind  for  Czech  youth,  they  promptiy  deported  him. 

Talk  about  Politics  of  Ecstasy! 

The  current  liberation  movements  in  Eastern  Eurq)e  are  indebted 
deeply  to  tiie  Beats  of  the  1950s. 

The  original  Love-In  Be-In  (San  Francisco,  January  1967)  was  the 
dawning  of  the  Psychedelic-Cybernetic  Age.  Or  "glasnost,"  as  we  call  it 

This  first  Love-In  Be-In  was  not  organized  in  the  traditional  way. 
The  word  got  out  via  the  Underground  Press  and  progressive,  free-form 
radio  stations.  When  Jerry  Rubin  jumped  on  stage  and  tried  to  run  a 
political  scam,  no  one  listened.  Three  months  later  the  Pop  Festival  in 
Monterey,  California  harnessed  the  new  youthful  psychedelic  spirit  to 
electrically  amplified  music. 

Ecstatic  Youth  plus  electronics. 

The  first  edition  of  The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  s^peared  in  1968. 

The  first  wave  of  post-Hiroshima  electronic  children  had  recentiy 
reached  the  age  of  21.  Politics  of  Ecstasy  was  a  dramatic  departure  from 
the  previous  texts  we  sober  Harvard  psychometridans  had  written  about 
the  consciousness-  expanding  foods  and  drugs.  The  Psychedelic  Experi- 
ence and  Psychedelic  Prayers  and  The  Psychedelic  Reader  were  sdiolarly 
texts  based  on  ancient  shamanic  tradition  and  designed  to  guide  mature, 
thoughtful  seekers. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  was  written  for  the  enormous  new  wave  of 
young  people,  the  first  generation  of  the  television  age,  who  were  used  to 
**tuming-on-tuning-in"  electronic  appliances.  It  was  written  to  provide  a 
supportive  "set"  for  the  millions  of  psychedelic  users  who  were  learning 
how  to  live  free.  Much  of  it  was  written  in  a  state  of  rapturous  delusion.  A 
book  with  this  reckless  tide  could  be  nothing  less,  could  it? 

I  used  the  term  "politics"  to  focus  on  the  cultural-social  implica- 
tions of  the  psychedelic  e^qperience.  This  was  considered  by  the  conven- 
tional wisdom  to  be  naive.  Politics  of  ecstasy? 

By  1969  the  power  of  the  youth  movement  and  the  counter-culture 
press  and  underground  radio  drew  500,000  to  Woodstock,  New  York  and 


later  to  the  Anti-War  demonstrations. 

Do  you  remember  the  symbol  of  the  short-lived  Ecstatic  Move- 
ment? The  TV  shot  of  a  young  man  putting  a  flower  in  the  gun  barrel  of 
the  soldier  who  was  threatening  him.  The  kids  in  China  remember.  Wang 
Weilin  (or  his  girl-friend,  the  film  major)  sure  remembered. 

Psychedelic  Youth  plus  Electronic  Communication. 

There  is  a  Pulitzer,  maybe  even  a  Nobel  Prize  awaiting  the  first 
pundit,  the  first  party  leader,  the  first  think-tank  expert  who  comes  right 
out  and  says  it  in  public:  Partisan  politics  is  over!  This  is  the  post-political 
age.  Everyone  has  caught  on  to  the  bottom-line  fact:  the  only  function  of 
a  political  party  is  to  line  its  own  pockets  and  keep  itself  in  office  at  the 
e?q)ense  of  the  common  good. 

It  so  happens  that  I  happened  to  say  this  in  1968.  In  the  book  you 
hold  in  your  hand.  In  my  naivete  and  innocence,  I  even  suggested  a  new 
Declaration  of  Independence. 

I  did  actually  try  to  put  the  post-politics  of  ecstasy  into  practice.  I 
announced  my  candidacy  for  governor  of  California  in  1969.  My  oppo- 
nent was  a  second-rate  movie  actor  who  was  later  to  win  a  doctorate  in 
Political  Science  from  the  Herbert  Hoover  University.  Or  something  like 

When  asked  what  I  would  do  if  I  were  to  become  governor  I 
replied:  "As  little  as  possible.  Managing  a  state  is  like  managing  a 
baseball  team.  The  function  of  the  coach  is  to  motivate,  tutor,  counsel,  to 
promote  team  woik.  And,  above  all,  to  stay  out  of  the  limelight  and  let  the 
performers  be  the  stars." 

Jeez!  No  wonder  Reagan  threw  me  in  jail  without  bail.  Once  again  I 
was  ahead  of  my  time.  Promoting  glasnost  and  decentralization  and 
regionalism  and  local  option  twenty  dangerous  years  before  Glorious 

In  the  societies  of  the  past  the  notion  of  a  "politics  of  ecstasis"  was 
oxymoronic.  How  could  theie  be  a  society  of  singular  individuals  who 
keep  dropping  out  of  the  central,  normal  social  structure? 

Granted,  that  in  most  tribal  societies  a  few  persons  were  permitted 
to  live  out  the  shamanic  path  of  exalted  mysticism.  And  on  certain 
festival  occasions  they  led  the  tribe  in  ceremonies  of  trance,  possession, 
and  rapturous  delight.  Usually  in  devotion  to  the  reigning  god. 

In  Feudal  and  Industrial  cultures  the  ecstatic  experience  was  cruelly 
alienated  from  organized  religions.  The  shamanic  role  was  relegated  to 
outcastes  like  Bohemians,  artists,  comics,  prostitutes,  screenwriters, 
entertainers.  This  small  dissident  re-sourceftil  minority  was  allowed  to 
circulate  innovative,  iconoclastic  creative  fabrications. 

It  was  the  Ecstatic  Beats  of  the  1950s,  the  Blissed  Out  Students  of 
the  1960s,  the  Anarchist  Yippies  of  the  1970s  and  the  Psyberpunks  of  the 
1980s  who  have  been  fabricating  the  Infonnation  Culture  of  the  1990s. 


Now  please  do  not  expect  me  to  come  up  with  specific  recommen- 
dations for  the  post-poUtical  future.  The  new  fomiats  wiU  emerge,  as  they 
usually  do,  from  the  streets,  the  campuses,  the  comedy  cafes. 

In  the  psybernetic  21st  century  power  will  come,  not  from  the 
barrel  of  a  gun,  but  from  the  minds  of  free  individuals  using  camera  lens, 
computer  screens,  and  electronic  networks. 


1.  The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  13 

2.  What  to  Do  When  the  Vietcong  Drop  LSD  in  Our 

Water  Supply  59 

3.  The  Fifth  Freedom-The  Right  to  Get  High  64 

4.  Ecstasy  Attacked— Ecstasy  Defended  70 

5.  Chemical  Warfare— The  Alcoholics  vs.  the 

Psychedelics  87 

6.  The  Magical  Mystery  Trip  103 

7.  She  Comes  in  Colors  118 

8.  Drop  Out  or  Cop  Out  160 

9.  Hormonal  Politics:  The  Menopausal  Left-Right  and 

the  Seed  Center  168 

10.  Poet  of  the  Interior  Journey  176 

11.  A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  195 

12.  Start  Your  Own  Religion  222 

13.  American  Education  as  an  Addictive  Process  and  Its 

Cure  237 


Contents  [  10 

14.  Soul  Session  254 

15.  God's  Secret  Agent  A.O.S.3  277 

16.  M.I.T.  Is  T.I.M.  Spelled  Backward  290 

17.  The  Buddha  as  Drop-Out  304 

18.  Homage  to  Huxley  310 

1 9.  The  Mad  Virgin  of  Psychedelia  3 1 9 

20.  Homage  to  the  Awe-full  See-er  327 

21.  The  Molecular  Revolution  332 

22.  Neurological  Politics  362 

Illustrations  follow  page  32. 


"The  Seven  Tongues  of  God"  appeared  under  the  title 
"The  Religious  Experience:  Its  Production  and 
Interpretation"  in  The  Psychedelic  Reader  (1965). 


The  Seven  Tongues 
of  God* 

The  Turn-On 

Once  upon  a  time,  many  years  ago,  on  a  sunny  afternoon  in  the 
garden  of  a  Cuernavaca  villa,  I  ate  seven  of  the  so-called  sacred 
mushrooms  which  had  been  given  to  me  by  a  scientist  from  the 
University  of  Mexico.  During  the  next  five  hours,  I  was  whirled 
through  an  experience  which  could  be  described  in  many  ex- 
travagant metaphors  but  which  was,  above  all  and  without 
question,  the  deepest  religious  experience  of  my  life. 

Statements  about  personal  reactions,  however  passionate,  are 
always  relative  to  the  speaker's  history  and  may  have  little 
general  significance.  Next  come  the  questions  "Why?"  and  "So 

There  are  many  predisposing  factors— intellectual,  emotional, 
spiritual,  social— which  cause  one  person  to  be  ready  for  a  dra- 
matic mind-opening  experience  and  which  lead  another  to 
shrink  back  from  new  levels  of  awareness.  The  discovery  that 
the  human  brain  possesses  an  infinity  of  potentialities  and  can 
operate  at  unexpected  space-time  dimensions  left  me  feeling 
exhilarated,  awed,  and  quite  convinced  that  I  had  awakened 

•  Lecture  delivered  at  a  meeting  of  Lutheran  psychologists  and  other  interested 
professionals,  sponsored  by  the  Board  of  Theological  Education,  Lutheran 
Church  in  America,  in  conjunction  with  the  Seventy-first  Annual  Convention  of 
the  American  Psychological  Association,  Bellevue  Stratford  Hotel,  Philadelphia, 
August  30, 1963;  later  published  in  Psychedelic  Review,  No.  3,  1964. 


The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  14 

from  a  long  ontological  sleep.  This  sudden  flash  awakening  is 
called  "turning  on." 

Tuning  In 

A  profound  transcendent  experience  should  leave  in  its  wake  a 
changed  man  and  a  changed  life.  Since  my  illumination  of  Au- 
gust 1960,  I  have  devoted  most  of  my  energies  to  trying  to 
understand  the  relevatory  potentialities  of  the  human  nervous 
system  and  to  making  these  insights  available  to  others. 

I  have  repeated  this  biochemical  and  (to  me)  sacramental 
ritual  several  hundred  times,  and  almost  every  time  I  have  been 
awed  by  religious  revelations  as  shattering  as  the  first  experi- 
ence. During  this  period  I  have  been  lucky  enough  to  collab- 
orate in  this  work  with  several  hundred  scientists  and  scholars 
who  joined  our  various  research  projects.  In  our  centers  at 
Harvard,  in  Mexico,  and  at  Millbrook  we  have  arranged  tran- 
scendent experiences  for  several  thousand  persons  from  all 
walks  of  life,  including  more  than  200  full-time  religious  profes- 
sionals, about  half  of  whom  profess  the  Christian  or  Jewish 
faiths  and  about  half  of  whom  belong  to  Eastern  religions. 

Included  in  this  roster  are  several  divinity  college  deans, 
divinity  college  presidents,  university  chaplains,  executives  of 
religious  foundations,  prominent  religious  editors,  and  several 
distinguished  religious  philosophers.  In  our  research  files  and  in 
certain  denominational  offices  there  is  building  up  a  large  and 
quite  remarkable  collection  of  reports  which  will  be  published 
when  the  political  atmosphere  becomes  more  tolerant.  At  this 
point  it  is  conservative  to  state  that  over  75  percent  of  these 
subjects  report  intense  mystico-religious  responses,  and  consid- 
erably more  than  50  percent  claim  that  they  have  had  the 
deepest  spiritual  experience  of  their  life. 

The  interest  generated  by  the  research  at  Harvard  led  to  the 
formation  in  1962  of  an  informal  group  of  ministers,  theo- 
logians and  religious  psychologists  who  met  once  a  month.  In 
addition  to  arranging  for  spiritually  oriented  psychedelic  ses- 
sions and  discussing  prepared  papers,  this  group  provided  the 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  15 

guides  for  the  dramatic  "Good  Friday'*  study  and  was  the 
original  planning  nucleus  of  the  organizations  which  assumed 
sponsorship  of  our  research  in  consciousness  expansion:  IFIF 
(the  International  Federation  for  Internal  Freedom) ,  1963,  the 
Castalia  Foundation,  1963-66,  and  the  League  for  Spiritual 
Discovery,  1966.  The  generating  impulse  and  the  original  lead- 
ership of  our  work  and  play  came  from  a  seminar  in  religious 
experience,  and  this  fact  may  be  related  to  the  alarm  which  we 
have  aroused  in  some  secular  and  psychiatric  circles. 

The  Good  Friday  Miracle 

The  "Good  Friday"  study,  which  has  been  sensationalized  re- 
cently in  the  press  as  "The  Miracle  of  Marsh  Chapel,"  deserves 
further  elaboration  not  only  as  an  example  of  a  serious,  con- 
trolled experiment  involving  over  30  courageous  volunteers 
but  also  as  a  systematic  demonstration  of  the  religious  aspects  of 
the  psychedelic  revelatory  experience.  This  study  was  the  Ph.D. 
dissertation  research  of  Walter  Pahnke,  at  that  time  a  graduate 
student  in  the  philosophy  of  religion  at  Harvard  University. 
Pahnke,  who  is,  incidentally,  both  an  M.D.  and  a  bachelor  of 
divinity,  set  out  to  determine  whether  the  transcendent  experi- 
ence reported  during  psychedelic  sessions  was  similar  to  the 
mystical  experience  reported  by  saints  and  famous  religious 

The  subjects  in  this  study  were  20  divinity  students  se- 
lected from  a  group  of  volunteers.  The  subjects  were  divided 
into  5  groups  of  4  persons,  and  each  group  met  before  the  ses- 
sion for  orientation  and  preparation.  To  each  group  were  as- 
signed 2  guides  with  considerable  psychedelic  experience.  The 
10  guides  were  professors  and  advanced  graduate  students  from 
Boston-area  colleges. 

The  experiment  took  place  in  a  small,  private  chapel  at 
Boston  University,  beginning  about  one  hour  before  noon  on 
Good  Friday.  The  dean  of  the  chapel,  Howard  Thurman,  who 
was  to  conduct  a  3-hour  devotional  service  upstairs  in  the  main 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  16 

hall  of  the  church,  visited  the  subjects  a  few  minutes  before  the 
start  of  the  service  at  noon  and  gave  a  brief  inspirational  talk. 

Two  of  the  subjects  in  each  group  and  one  of  the  two  guides 
were  given  a  moderately  stiff  dosage  (i.e.,  30  mg.)  of  psilocybin, 
the  chemical  synthesis  of  the  active  ingredient  in  the  "sacred 
mushroom"  of  Mexico.  The  remaining  two  subjects  and  the 
second  guide  received  a  placebo  which  produced  noticeable 
somatic  side  effects  but  which  was  not  psychedelic.  The  study 
was  triple  blind:  neither  the  subjects,  guides,  nor  experimenter 
knew  who  received  psilocybin. 

A  detailed  description  of  this  fascinating  study  can  be  found 
in  Pahnke's  thesis,  available  from  the  Harvard  Library.^  I  can 
say,  in  summary,  that  the  results  clearly  support  the  hypothesis 
that,  with  adequate  preparation  and  in  an  environment  which 
is  supportive  and  religiously  meaningful,  subjects  who  have 
taken  the  psychedelic  drug  report  mystical  experiences  signifi- 
cantly more  than  placebo  controls. 

Our  studies,  naturalistic  and  experimental,  thus  demonstrate 
that  if  the  expectation,  preparation,  and  setting  are  spiritual,  an 
intense  mystical  or  revelatory  experience  can  be  expected  in 
from  40  to  90  percent  of  subjects  ingesting  psychedelic  drugs. 
These  results  may  be  attributed  to  the  bias  of  our  research 
group,  which  has  taken  the  "far  out"  and  rather  dangerous  posi- 
tion that  there  are  experiential-spiritual  as  well  as  secular- 
behavioral  potentialities  of  the  nervous  system.  While  we  share 
and  follow  the  epistemology  of  scientific  psychology  (objective 
records) ,  our  basic  ontological  assumptions  are  closer  to  Jung 
than  to  Freud,  closer  to  the  mystics  than  to  the  theologians, 
closer  to  Einstein  and  Bohr  than  to  Newton.  In  order  to  check 
on  this  bias,  let  us  cast  a  comparative  glance  at  the  work  of  other 
research  groups  in  this  field  who  begin  from  more  conventional 
ontological  bases. 

LSD  Can  Produce  a  Religious  High 

Oscar  Janiger,  a  psychiatrist,  and  William  McGlothlin,  a  psy- 
chologist, have  reported  the  reactions  of  194  psychedelic  sub- 
jects. Of  these,  73  took  LSD  as  part  of  a  psychotherapy  program. 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [17 

and  121  were  volunteers.  The  religious  **set"  would  not  be  ex- 
pected to  dominate  the  expectations  of  these  subjects.  The  re- 
sults, which  are  abstracted  from  a  paper  published  in  the  Psy- 
chedelic Review/^  are  as  follows: 



(nonreligious  setting) 

N  =  194 

Increased  interest  in  morals,  ethics:  35 

Increased  interest  in  other  universal  concepts 

(meaning  of  life) :  48 

Change  in  sense  of  values  48 

LSD  should  be  used  for 

becoming  aware  of  oneself:  75 

getting  new  meaning  to  life:  58 

getting  people  to  understand  each  other:  42 

An  experience  of  lasting  benefit:  58 

Two  Other  studies,  one  by  Ditman  et  al,  another  by  Savage  et 
al.,  used  the  same  questionnaire,  allowing  for  interexperiment 
comparison.  Both  Ditman  and  Savage  are  psychiatrists,  but  the 
clinical  environment  of  the  latter's  study  is  definitely  more  re- 
ligious (subjects  are  shown  religious  articles  during  the  session, 
etc.) .  Summarizing  the  religious  items  of  their  questionnaires: 







N  =  74 

&  some  religious 
N  =  96 





Feel  it  [LSD]  was  the  greatest 

thing  that  ever  happened  to  me: 
A  religious  experience: 
A  greater  awareness  of  God  or  a  higher 

power,  or  an  ultimate  reality:  40  90 

Here,  then,  we  have  five  scientific  studies  by  qualified  investi- 
gators—the four  naturalistic  studies  by  Leary  et  al.,^  Savage  et 
al.*  Ditman  et  al.,^  and  Janiger-McGlothlin,^  and  the  triple- 
blind  study  in  the  Harvard  dissertation  mentioned  earlier- 
yielding  data  which  indicate  that  (1)  if  the  setting  is  supportive 
but  not  spiritual,  between  40  to  75  percent  of  psychedelic  sub- 
jects will  report  intense  and  life-changing  religious  experiences 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  18 

and  that  (2)  if  the  set  and  setting  are  supportive  and  spiritual, 
then  from  40  to  90  percent  of  the  experiences  will  be  revelatory 
and  mystico-religious. 

It  is  hard  to  see  how  these  results  can  be  disregarded  by  those 
who  are  concerned  with  spiritual  growth  and  religious  devel- 
opment. These  data  are  even  more  interesting  because  the  ex- 
periments took  place  at  a  time  (1962)  when  mysticism,  indi- 
vidual religious  ecstasy  (as  opposed  to  religious  behavior) ,  was 
highly  suspect  and  when  the  classic,  direct,  nonverbal  means  of 
revelation  and  consciousness  expansion  such  as  meditation, 
yoga,  fasting,  monastic  withdrawal  and  sacramental  foods  and 
drugs  were  surrounded  by  an  aura  of  fear,  clandestine  secrecy, 
active  social  sanction,  and  even  imprisonment^  The  two  hun- 
dred professional  workers  in  religious  vocations  who  partook  of 
psychedelic  substances  (noted  earlier)  were  responsible,  re- 
spected, thoughtful,  and  moral  individuals  who  were  grimly 
aware  of  the  controversial  nature  of  the  procedure  and  aware 
that  their  reputations  and  their  jobs  might  be  undermined 
(and,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  have  been  and  are  today  being 
threatened  for  some  of  them) .  Still  the  results  read:  75  percent 
spiritual  revelation.  It  may  well  be  that  the  most  intense  reli- 
gious experience,  like  the  finest  metal,  requires  fire,  the  "heat" 
of  police  constabulatory  opposition,  to  produce  the  keenest  edge. 
When  the  day  comes— as  it  surely  will— that  sacramental  bio- 
chemicals  like  LSD  will  be  as  routinely  and  tamely  used  as 
organ  music  and  incense  to  assist  in  the  attainment  of  religious 
experience,  it  may  well  be  that  the  ego-shattering  effect  of  the 
drug  will  be  diminished.  Such  may  be  one  aspect  of  the  para- 
doxical nature  of  religious  experience. 

What  Is  the  Religious  Experience? 

The  Religious  Experience 

You  are  undoubtedly  wondering  about  the  meaning  of 
this  phrase,  which  has  been  used  so  freely  in  the  preceding 
paragraphs.  May  I  offer  a  definition? 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  19 

The  religious  experience  is  the  ecstatic,  incontrovertibly  cer- 
tain, subjective  discovery  of  answers  to  seven  basic  spiritual 
questions.  There  can  be,  of  course,  absolute  subjective  certainty 
in  regard  to  secular  questions:  Is  this  the  girl  I  love?  Is  Fidel 
Castro  a  wicked  man?  Are  the  Yankees  the  best  baseball  team? 
But  issues  which  do  not  involve  the  seven  basic  questions 
belong  to  secular  games,  and  such  convictions  and  faiths,  how- 
ever deeply  held,  can  be  distinguished  from  the  religious.  Litur- 
gical practices,  rituals,  dogmas,  theological  speculations,  can  be 
and  too  often  are  secular,  i.e.,  completely  divorced  from  the 
spiritual  experience. 

What  are  these  7  basic  spiritual  questions? 

1.  The  Ultimate  Power  Question 

What  is  the  basic  energy  underlying  the  universe— the  ulti- 
mate power  that  moves  the  galaxies  and  nucleus  of  the  atom? 
Where  and  how  did  it  all  begin?  What  is  the  cosmic  plan? 

2.  The  Life  Question 

What  is  life?  Where  and  how  did  it  begin?  How  is  it  evolv- 
ing? Where  is  it  going?  Genesis,  biology,  evolution,  genetics. 

3.  The  Human  Being  Question 

Who  is  man?  Whence  did  he  come?  What  is  his  structure  and 
function?  Anatomy  and  physiology. 

4.  The  Awareness  Question 

How  does  man  sense,  experience,  know?  Epistemology, 

5.  The  Ego  Question 

Who  am  I?  What  is  my  spiritual,  psychological,  social  place  in 
the  plan?  What  should  I  do  about  it?  Social  psychology. 

6.  The  Emotional  Question 

What  should  I  feel  about  it?  Psychiatry.  Personality  psy- 

7.  The  Ultimate  Escape  Question 

How  do  I  get  out  of  it?  Anesthesiology  (amateur  or  profes- 
sional) .  Eschatology. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  20 

While  one  may  disagree  with  the  wording,  I  think  most 
thoughtful  people— philosophers  or  not— can  agree  on  some- 
thing like  this  list  of  basic  issues.  Do  not  most  of  the  great 
religious  statements— Eastern  or  monotheistic— speak  directly  to 
these  questions? 

Now  one  important  fact  about  these  questions  is  that  they  are 
continually  being  answered  and  reanswered,  not  only  by  all  the 
religions  of  the  world  but  also  by  the  data  of  the  natural 
sciences.  Read  these  questions  again  from  the  standpoint  of  the 
goals  of  (1)  astronomy-physics,  (2)  biochemistry,  genetics,  pa- 
leontology, and  evolutionary  theory,  (3)  anatomy  and  physiol- 
ogy, (4)  neurology,  (5)  sociology,  psychology,  (6)  psychiatry, 
(7)  eschatological  theology  and  anesthesiology. 

We  are  all  aware  of  the  unhappy  fact  that  both  science  and 
religion  are  too  often  diverted  toward  secular-game  goals.  Vari- 
ous pressures  demand  that  laboratory  and  church  forget  these 
basic  questions  and  instead  provide  distractions,  illusory  protec- 
tion, narcotic  comfort.  Most  of  us  dread  confrontation  with  the 
answers  to  these  basic  questions,  whether  the  answers  come  from 
objective  science  or  religion.  But  if  "pure"  science  and  religion 
address  themselves  to  the  same  basic  questions,  what  is  the 
distinction  between  the  two  disciplines?  Science  is  the  system- 
atic attempt  to  record  and  measure  the  energy  process  and  the 
sequence  of  energy  transformations  we  call  life.  The  goal  is  to 
answer  the  basic  questions  in  terms  of  objective,  observed, 
public  data.  Religion  is  the  systematic  attempt  to  provide  an- 
swers to  the  same  questions  subjectively,  in  terms  of  direct,  in- 
controvertible, personal  experience. 

Science  is  a  social  system  which  evolves  roles,  rules,  rituals, 
values,  language,  space-time  locations  to  further  the  quest  for 
these  goals,  to  answer  these  questions  objectively,  externally. 
Religion  is  a  social  system  which  has  evolved  its  roles,  rules, 
rituals,  values,  language,  space-time  locations  to  further  the 
pursuit  of  the  same  goals,  to  answer  these  questions  subjectively 
through  the  revelatory  experience.  A  science  which  fails  to  ad- 
dress itself  to  these  spiritual  goals,  which  accepts  other  purposes 
(however  popular) ,  becomes  secular,  political,  and  tends  to 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  21 

oppose  new  data.  A  religion  which  fails  to  provide  direct  ex- 
periential answers  to  these  spiritual  questions  (which  fails  to 
produce  the  ecstatic  high)  becomes  secular,  political,  and  tends 
to  oppose  the  individual  revelatory  confrontation.  The  Oxford 
orientalist  R.  C.  Zaehner,  whose  formalism  is  not  always 
matched  by  his  tolerance,  has  remarked  that  experience,  when 
divorced  from  dogma,  often  leads  to  absurd  and  wholly  irra- 
tional excesses.^  Like  any  statement  of  polarity,  the  opposite  is 
equally  true:  dogma,  when  divorced  from  experience,  often 
leads  to  absurd  and  wholly  rational  excesses.  Those  of  us  who 
have  been  devoting  our  lives  to  the  study  of  consciousness  have 
been  able  to  collect  considerable  sociological  data  about  the 
tendency  of  the  rational  mind  to  spin  out  its  own  interpreta- 
tions. But  I  shall  have  more  to  say  about  the  political  situation 
in  later  chapters. 

Religion  and  Science  Provide  Similar  Answers  to  the  Same 
Basic  Questions 

At  this  point  I  should  like  to  advance  the  hypothesis  that  those 
aspects  of  the  psychedelic  experience  which  subjects  report  to 
be  ineffable  and  ecstatically  religious  involve  a  direct  awareness 
of  the  energy  processes  which  physicists  and  biochemists  and 
physiologists  and  neurologists  and  psychologists  and  psychia- 
trists measure. 

We  are  treading  here  on  very  tricky  ground.  When  we  read 
the  reports  of  LSD  subjects,  we  are  doubly  limited.  First,  they 
can  only  speak  in  the  vocabulary  they  know,  and  for  the  most 
part  they  do  not  possess  the  lexicon  and  training  of  energy 
scientists.  Second,  we  researchers  find  only  what  we  are  pre- 
pared to  look  for,  and  too  often  we  think  in  crude  psychological- 
jargon  concepts:  moods,  emotions,  value  judgments,  diagnostic 
categories,  social  pejoratives,  religious  cliches. 

Since  1962  I  have  talked  to  thousands  of  LSD  trippers, 
mystics,  saddhus,  occultists,  saints,  inquiring  if  their  hallucina- 
tions, visions,  revelations,  ecstasies,  orgasms,  hits,  flashes,  space- 
outs,  and  freak-outs  can  be  translated  into  the  language  not  just 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  22 

of  religion,  psychiatry  and  psychology  but  also  of  the  physical 
and  biological  sciences. 

1.  The  Ultimate-Power  Question 

A.  The  scientific  answers  to  this  question  change  con- 
stantly—Newtonian laws,  quantum  indeterminacy,  atomic 
structure,  nuclear  structure.  Today  the  basic  energy  is  located 
within  the  nucleus.  Inside  the  atom 

a  transparent  sphere  of  emptiness,  thinly  populated  with  elec- 
trons, the  substance  of  the  atom  has  shrunk  to  a  core  of  un- 
believable smallness:  enlarged  1000  million  times,  an  atom 
would  be  about  the  size  of  a  football,  but  its  nucleus  would 
still  be  hardly  visible— a  mere  speck  of  dust  at  the  center.  Yet 
that  nucleus  radiates  a  powerful  electric  field  which  holds  and 
controls  the  electrons  around  it.* 

Incredible  power  and  complexity  operating  at  speeds  and 
spatial  dimensions  which  our  conceptual  minds  cannot  register. 
Infinitely  small,  yet  pulsating  outward  through  enormous  net- 
works of  electrical  forces— atom,  molecule,  cell,  planet,  star:  all 
forms  dancing  to  the  nuclear  tune. 

The  cosmic  design  is  this  network  of  energy  whirling  through 
space-time.  More  than  15,000  million  years  ago  the  oldest 
known  stars  began  to  form.  Whirling  disks  of  gas  molecules 
(driven,  of  course,  by  that  tiny,  spinning,  nuclear  force)  —con- 
densing clouds,  further  condensations— the  tangled  web  of  spin- 
ning magnetic  fields  clustering  into  stellar  forms,  and  each 
stellar  cluster  hooked  up  in  a  magnetic  dance  with  its  planetary 
cluster  and  with  every  other  star  in  the  galaxy,  and  each  galaxy 
whirling  in  synchronized  relationship  to  the  other  galaxies. 

One  thousand  million  galaxies.  From  100  million  to  100,000 
million  stars  in  a  galaxy— that  is  to  say,  100,000  million  plane- 
tary systems  per  galaxy,  and  each  planetary  system  slowly  wheel- 
ing through  the  stellar  cycle  that  allows  for  a  brief  time  the 
possibility  of  life  as  we  know  it. 

Five  thousand  million  years  ago,  a  slow-spinning  dwarf  star 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  23 

we  call  the  sun  is  the  center  of  a  field  of  swirling  planetary 
material.  The  planet  earth  is  created.  In  5,000  million  years 
the  sun's  supply  of  hydrogen  will  be  burned  up;  the  planets  will 
be  engulfed  by  a  final  solar  explosion.  Then  the  ashen  remnants 
of  our  planetary  system  will  spin  silently  through  the  dark 
infinity  of  space.  And  then  is  the  dance  over?  Hardly.  Our  tiny 
solar  light,  which  is  one  of  100,000  million  suns  in  our  galaxy, 
will  scarcely  be  missed.  And  our  galaxy  is  one  of  1,000  million 
galaxies  spinning  out  and  up  at  rates  which  exceed  the  speed  of 
light— each  galaxy  eventually  burning  up,  to  be  replaced  by  new 
galaxies  to  preserve  the  dance  equilibrium. 

Here  in  the  always  changing  data  of  nuclear  physics  and 
astronomy  is  the  current  scientific  answer  to  the  first  basic  ques- 
tion—material enough  indeed  for  an  awesome  cosmology. 

B.  Psychedelic  reports  often  contain  phrases  which  seem  to 
describe  similar  phenomena,  subjectively  experienced. 

(a)  I  passed  in  and  out  of  a  state  several  times  where  I  was 
so  relaxed  that  I  felt  open  to  a  total  flow,  over  and 
around  and  through  my  body  (more  than  my  body) . 
.  .  .  All  objects  were  dripping,  streaming,  with  white- 
hot  light  or  electricity  which  flowed  in  the  air.  It  was  as 
though  we  were  watching  the  world,  just  having  come 
into  being,  cool  off,  its  substance  and  form  still  molten 
and  barely  beginning  to  harden. 

(b)  Body  being  destroyed  after  it  became  so  heavy  as  to  be 
unbearable.  Mind  wandering,  ambulating  throughout 
an  ecstatically  lit,  indescribable  landscape.  How  can  there 
be  so  much  light— layers  and  layers  of  light,  light  upon 
light?  All  is  illumination. 

(c)  I  became  more  and  more  conscious  of  vibrations— of  the 
vibrations  in  my  body,  the  harp  strings  giving  forth  their 
individual  tones.  Gradually  I  felt  myself  becoming  one 
with  the  cosmic  vibration.  ...  In  this  dimension  there 
were  no  forms,  no  deities  or  personalities— just  bliss. 

(d)  The  dominant  impression  was  that  of  entering  into  the 
very  marrow  of  existence.  ...  It  was  as  if  each  of  the 
billion  atoms  of  experience  which  under  normal  circum- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [24 

stances  are  summarized  and  averaged  into  crude,  indis- 
criminate, wholesale  impressions  was  now  being  seen  and 
savored  for  itself.  The  other  clear  sense  was  that  of  cosmic 
relativity.  Perhaps  all  experience  never  gets  summarized 
in  any  inclusive  overview.  Perhaps  all  there  is,  is  this 
everlasting  congeries  of  an  infinite  number  of  discrete 
points  of  view,  each  summarizing  the  whole  from  its  per- 
(e)  I  could  see  the  whole  history  and  evolution  along  which 
man  has  come.  I  was  moving  into  the  future  and  saw  the 
old  cycle  of  peace  and  war,  good  times  and  bad  times, 
starting  to  repeat,  and  I  said,  "The  same  old  thing  again. 
Oh,  God!  It  has  changed,  though,  it  is  different,"  and  I 
thought  of  the  rise  of  man  from  animal  to  spiritual  being. 
But  I  was  still  moving  into  the  future,  and  I  saw  the  whole 
planet  destroyed  and  all  history,  evolution,  and  human 
efforts  being  wiped  out  in  this  one  ultimate  destructive 
act  of  God. 

Subjects  speak  of  participating  in  and  merging  with  pure 
(i.e.,  content-free)  energy,  white  light;  of  witnessing  the  break- 
down of  macroscopic  objects  into  vibratory  patterns,  visual  nets, 
the  collapse  of  external  structure  into  wave  patterns,  the  aware- 
ness that  everything  is  a  dance  of  particles,  sensing  the  smallness 
and  fragility  of  our  system,  visions  of  the  void,  of  world-ending 
explosions,  of  the  cyclical  nature  of  creation  and  dissolution,  etc. 
Now  I  need  not  apologize  for  the  flimsy  inadequacy  of  these 
words.  We  just  don't  have  a  better  experiential  vocabulary.  If 
God  were  to  permit  you  a  brief  voyage  into  the  divine  process, 
let  you  whirl  for  a  second  into  the  atomic  nucleus  or  spin  you 
out  on  a  light-year  trip  through  the  galaxies,  how  on  earth 
would  you  describe  what  you  saw  when  you  got  back,  breathless, 
to  your  office?  This  metaphor  may  sound  farfetched  or  irrele- 
vant, but  just  ask  someone  who  has  taken  a  heavy  dose  of  LSD. 

2.  The  Life  Question 

A.   The  Scientific  Answer: 
Our  planetary  system  began  over  5  billion  years  ago  and  has 
around  5  billion  years  to  go.  Life  as  we  know  it  dates  back  2 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  25 

billion  years.  In  other  words,  the  earth  spun  for  about  60  per- 
cent of  its  existence  without  life.  The  crust  slowly  cooled  and 
was  eroded  by  incessant  water  flow.  "'Fertile  mineral  mud  was 
deposited  .  .  .  now  giving  ...  for  the  first  time  .  .  .  the 
possibility  of  harboring  life."  Thunderbolts  in  the  mud  pro- 
duce amino  acids,  the  basic  building  blocks  of  life.  Then  begins 
the  ceaseless  production  of  protein  molecules,  incalculable  in 
number,  forever  combining  into  new  forms.  The  variety  of 
proteins  "exceeds  all  the  drops  of  water  in  all  the  oceans  of  the 
world."  Then  protoplasm.  Cell.  Within  the  cell,  incredible 
beauty  and  order. 

When  we  consider  the  teeming  activity  of  a  modern  city  it 
is  diflRcult  to  realize  that  in  the  cells  of  our  bodies  infinitely 
more  complicated  processes  are  at  work— ceaseless  manufacture, 
acquisition  of  food,  storage,  communication  and  administra- 
tion. .  .  .  All  this  takes  place  in  superb  harmony,  with  the 
cooperation  of  all  the  participants  of  a  living  system,  regulated 
down  to  the  smallest  detail.^o 

Life  is  the  striving  cycle  of  repetitious,  reproductive  energy 
transformations.  Moving,  twisting,  devouring,  changing.  The 
unit  of  life  is  the  cell.  And  the  blueprint  is  the  genetic  code,  the 
two  nucleic  acids— the  long,  intertwined,  duplicating  chains  of 
DNA  and  the  controlling  regulation  of  RN A— "which  deter- 
mine the  structure  of  the  living  substance." 

And  where  is  it  going?  Exactly  like  the  old  Hindu  myths  of 
cyclical  rotation,  the  astrophysicists  tell  us  that  life  is  a  tempo- 
rary sequence  which  occurs  at  a  brief  midpoint  in  the  planetary 
cycle.  Terrestrial  life  began  around  3  billion  years  a.b.  ("after 
the  beginning"  of  our  solar  cycle)  and  will  run  for  another 
2  billion  years  or  so.  At  that  time  the  solar  furnace  will 
burn  so  hot  that  the  minor  planets  (including  earth)  will  boil, 
bubble  and  bum  out.  In  other  planetary  systems  the  time  spans 
are  different,  but  the  cycle  is  probably  the  same. 

There  comes  an  intermediate  stage  in  the  temperature  his- 
tory of  a  planet  which  can  nourish  living  forms,  and  then  life 
merges  into  the  final  unifying  fire.  Data  here,  indeed,  for  an 
awesome  cosmology. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  26 

The  flame  of  life  which  moves  every  living  form,  including 
the  cell  cluster  you  call  your  self,  began,  we  are  told,  as  a  tiny 
single-celled  spark  in  the  lower  Precambrian  mud,  then  passed 
over  in  steady  transformations  to  more  complex  forms.  We  like 
to  speak  of  higher  forms,  but  let's  not  ignore  or  patronize  the 
single-cell  game.  It's  still  quite  thriving,  thank  you.  Next,  your 
ancestral  fire  glowed  in  seaweed,  algae,  flagellate,  sponge,  coral 
(about  1  billion  years  ago) ;  then  fish,  fern,  scorpion,  milliped 
(about  600  million  years  ago) .  Every  cell  in  your  body  traces 
back  (about  450  million  years  ago)  to  the  same  light  life  flicker- 
ing in  amphibian  (and  what  a  fateful  and  questionable  decision 
to  leave  the  sea— should  we  have  done  it?) .  Then  forms,  multi- 
plying in  endless  diversity— reptile,  insect,  bird— until,  1  million 
years  ago,  comes  the  aureole  glory  of  Australopithecus.* 

The  torch  of  life  next  passes  on  to  the  hand-ax  culture 
(around  600,000  years  ago) ,  to  Pithecanthropus  (can  you  re- 
member watching  for  the  charge  of  southern  elephants  and  the 
saber-tooth  tiger?) ,  then  blazing  brightly  in  the  radiance  of  our 
great-grandfather  Neanderthal  man  (a  mere  70,000  years  ago) , 
suddenly  flaring  up  in  that  cerebral  explosion  that  doubled  the 
cortex  of  our  grandfather  Cro-Magnon  man  (44,000  to  10,000 
years  ago) ,  and  then  radiating  into  the  full  flame  of  recent  man, 
our  older  stone  age.  Neolithic  brothers,  our  bronze  and  iron  age 

What  next?  The  race,  far  from  being  culminated,  has  just 

The  development  of  Pre-hominines  Australopithecus  .  .  . 
to  the  first  emergence  of  the  .  .  .  Cromagnons  lasted  about 
.  .  .  fifteen  thousand  human  life-spans.  ...  In  this  relatively 
short  period  in  world  history  the  hominid  type  submitted  to  a 
positively  hurricane  change  of  form;  indeed  he  may  be  looked 
upon  as  one  of  the  animal  groups  whose  potentialities  of  un- 
folding with  the  greatest  intensity  have  been  realized.  It  must, 

•The  fossils  of  the  newly  discovered  "Homo  Habilis"  from  East  Africa  are 
estimated  to  be  1,750,000  years  old.  (New  York  Times,  March  18,  April  3  and  4, 
1964,  Another  estimate  traces  human  origins  back  about  15  million  yearsl— 
New  York  Times,  April  12,  1964.) 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  27 

however,  by  no  means  be  expected  that  this  natural  flood  of 
development  will  dry  up  with  Homo  sapiens  recens.  Man  will 
be  unable  to  remain  man  as  we  know  him  now,  a  modern 
sapiens  type.  He  will  in  the  courses  of  the  next  hundreds  of 
millennia  presumably  change  considerably  physiologically  and 

B.  The  Psychedelic  Correlates  of  these  evolutionary  and  ge- 
netic concepts  are  to  be  found  in  the  reports  of  almost  every 
LSD  tripper.  The  experience  of  being  a  one-celled  creature 
tenaciously  flailing,  the  singing,  humming  sound  of  life  exfoli- 
ating; you  are  the  DNA  code  spinning  out  multicellular  aes- 
thetic solutions.  You  directly  and  immediately  experience  in- 
vertebrate joy;  you  feel  your  backbone  forming;  gills  form.  You 
are  a  fish  with  glistening  gills,  the  sound  of  ancient  fetal  tides 
murmuring  the  rhythm  of  life.  You  stretch  and  wriggle  in 
mammalian  muscular  strength,  loping,  powerful,  big  muscles; 
you  sense  hair  growing  on  your  body  as  you  leave  the  warm 
broth  of  water  and  take  over  the  earth. 

The  psychedelic  experience  is  the  Hindu-Buddha  reincarna- 
tion theory  experimentally  confirmed  in  your  own  nervous 
system.  You  re-experience  your  human  forebears,  shuttle  down 
the  chain  of  DNA  remembrance.  It's  all  there  in  your  cellular 
diaries.  You  are  all  the  men  and  women  who  fought  and  fed  and 
met  and  mated— the  ugly,  the  strong,  the  sly,  the  mean,  the  wise, 
the  beautiful.  Our  fathers,  who  art  protein  in  heaven— within; 
and  our  round-fleshed  holy  mothers,  hallowed  be  thy  names. 
Endless  chain  of  warm-blooded,  sweating,  perfumed-smelling, 
tenaciously  struggling  primates,  each  rising  out  of  darkness  to 
stand  for  one  second  in  the  sunlight  and  hand  on  the  precious 
electrical  tissue  flame  of  life. 

What  does  all  that  evolutionary  reincarnation  business  have 
to  do  with  you  or  me  or  LSD  or  the  religious  experience?  It 
might,  it  just  might,  have  a  lot  to  do  with  very  current  events. 
Many,  and  I  am  just  bold  enough  to  say  most,  LSD  subjects  say 
they  experience  early  forms  of  racial  or  subhuman  species  evo- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  28 

lution  during  their  sessions.  Now  the  easiest  interpretation  is 
the  psychiatric:  "Oh,  yes,  hallucinations.  Everyone  knows  that 
LSD  makes  you  crazy,  and  your  delusions  can  take  any  psychotic 
form."  But  wait;  not  so  fast.  Is  it  entirely  inconceivable  that  our 
cortical  cells  or  the  machinery  inside  the  cellular  nucleus  "re- 
member" back  along  the  unbroken  chain  of  electrical  transfor- 
mations that  connects  every  one  of  us  back  to  that  original 
thunderbolt  in  the  Precambrian  mud?  Impossible,  you  say? 
Read  a  genetics  text.  Read  and  reflect  about  the  DNA  chain  of 
complex  protein  molecules  that  took  you  as  a  unicelled  orga- 
nism at  the  moment  of  your  conception  and  planned  every  stage 
of  your  natural  development.  Half  of  that  genetic  blueprint  was 
handed  to  you  intact  by  your  mother  and  half  by  your  father, 
and  then  slammed  together  in  that  incredible  welding  process 
we  call  conception. 

"You,"  your  ego,  your  good  old  American  social  self,  have 
been  trained  to  remember  certain  crucial  secular-game  land- 
marks: your  senior  prom,  your  wedding  day.  But  is  it  not  pos- 
sible that  others  of  your  10  billion  brain  cells  "remember" 
other  critical  survival  crossroads,  like  conception,  intrauterine 
events,  birth?  Events  for  which  our  language  has  few  or  no 
descriptive  terms?  Every  cell  in  your  body  is  the  current  carrier 
of  an  energy  torch  which  traces  back  through  millions  of  gen- 
eration transformations.  Remember  that  genetic  code? 

You  must  recognize  by  now  the  difficulty  of  my  task.  I  am 
trying  to  expand  your  consciousness,  break  through  your  macro- 
scopic, secular  set,  "turn  you  on,"  give  you  a  faint  feeling  of  a 
psychedelic  moment,  trying  to  relate  two  sets  of  processes  for 
which  we  have  no  words— speed-of -light  energy-transformation 
processes  and  the  transcendent  vision. 

3.  The  Human  Being  Question 

A.  The  Scientific  Answer 
What  is  the  human  being?  Ancient  riddle,  usually  answered 
from  within  the  homocentric  limits  of  the  parochial  mind.  But 
consider  this  question  from  the  perspective  of  an  intelligence 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  29 

outside  the  "romantic  fallacy'*  of  man's  superiority.  Study  the 
question  from  the  vantage  point  of  an  outer-space  visitor,  or 
from  that  of  an  ecstatic,  objective  scientist. 

Let  us  define  man  as  man  defines  other  species,  by  his  anat- 
omy and  physiology.  Man  is  an  evolutionary  form  emerging 
from  animal-mammalian-primate  stock,  characterized  by  this 
skeletal  structure  and  these  unique  hematological,  endocrine, 
organ  systems. 

Like  every  living  creature,  man  is  a  seed  carrier,  a  soul  bearer 
made  in  one  of  the  forms  of  God.  Man's  particular  form  is  a  bag 
of  semihairless  skin  containing  a  miraculously  complex  system 
of  life  functions  which  he  dimly  understands  in  the  language  of 
physiology,  functions  of  which  he  has  no  direct  experience. 

Only  a  rare,  turned-on  visionary  like  Buckminister  Fuller  can 
appreciate  the  universe  of  the  human  body,  the  galactic  scope  of 
somatic  experience. 

"Our  individual  brains  have  a  quadrillion  times  a  quadrillion 
atoms  in  fantastic  coordination.  ...  I  think  we  are  all  coming 
out  of  the  womb  of  very  fundamental  ignorance,  mental  igno- 
rance. We  talk  in  ways  that  sometimes  sound  very  faithful  to  our 
experience  but  which  are  many  times  very  imaginary.  .  .  .  We 
think  that  we  know  quite  a  lot  and  are  responsible  for  a  lot  of 
what  is  going  on. 

*'I  say  to  you,  whatever  the  last  meal  you  ate,  you  haven't  the 
slightest  idea  of  what  you  are  doing  with  it.  You  aren't  con- 
sciously saying  to  yourself  that  'I  have  designed  and  decided 
now  I'm  going  to  have  a  million  hairs,  and  they're  going  to  be 
such  and  such  a  shape  and  color.'  We  don't  do  any  of  this;  it  is 
all  automated.  Man  is  more  than  ninety-nine  percent  auto- 
mated, and  he  is  only  a  very  small  fraction  conscious.  Whereas 
he  tends  to  suggest  that  he  is  really  highly  responsible  for  what 
goes  on  ...  he  is  very  successful  despite  his  ignorance  and 

"I  would  suggest  that  all  of  humanity  is  about  to  be  born  in 
an  entirely  new  relationship  to  the  universe.  .  .  .  We're  going 
to  have  to  have  an  integrity  ...  a  good  faith  with  the  truth, 
whatever  the  truth  may  be.  We  are  going  to  have  to  really  pay 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [30 

attention."  (Buckminister  Fuller,  interviewed  in  the  San  Fran- 
cisco Oracle,  Vol.  1,  No.  11.) 

B.  The  Psychedelic  Correlates 

The  key  phrases  in  this  typical  flash  of  humorous  genius  by 
Buckminister  Fuller  are:  "faithful  to  our  experience,"  "auto- 
mated .  .  .  only  a  very  small  fraction  conscious,"  "pay  at- 

This  is  classic  psychedelic  talk.  One  of  the  ecstatic  horrors  of 
the  LSD  experience  is  the  sudden  confrontation  with  your  own 
body,  the  shattering  resurrection  of  your  body.  You  are  capitu- 
lated into  the  matrix  of  quadrillions  of  cells  and  somatic  com- 
munication systems.  Cellular  flow.  You  are  swept  down  the 
tunnels  and  canals  of  your  own  waterworks.  Visions  of  micro- 
scopic processes.  Strange,  undulating  tissue  patterns.  Pummeled 
down  the  fantastic  artistry  of  internal  factories,  recoiling  with 
fear  or  shrieking  in  pleasure  at  the  incessant  push,  struggle, 
drive  of  the  biological  machinery,  clicking,  clicking,  endlessly, 
endlessly— at  every  moment  engulfing  you. 

Your  body  is  the  universe.  The  ancient  wisdom  of  gnostics, 
hermetics,  sufis,  Tantric  gurus,  yogis,  occult  healers.  What  is 
without  is  within.  Your  body  is  the  mirror  of  the  macrocosm. 
The  kingdom  of  heaven  is  within  you.  Within  your  body,  body, 
body.  The  great  psychedelic  philosophies  of  the  East— Tantra, 
Kundalini  yoga— see  the  human  body  as  the  sacred  temple,  the 
seed  center,  the  exquisitely  architected  shrine  of  all  creation. 

Hoc  est  corpus  meum 

And  the  systematic,  disciplined  awareness  of  body  function  is 
the  basic  sacramental  method  of  these  religions.  Tibetan  and 
Indian  Tantra  train  the  student  to  become  faithful  to  somatic 
experience,  to  pay  attention  to  the  energies  and  messages  of  the 
body.  Breathing,  control  of  circulation,  control  of  involuntary 
muscles  and  reflexes,  control  of  digestion,  control  of  genital 
erection  and  ejaculation,  awareness  of  the  intricate  language  of 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [31 

hormone  and  humor,  the  psychopharmacology  of  the  body,  the 

One  cannot  understand  the  rhythms  and  meanings  of  the 
outer  world  until  one  has  mastered  the  dialects  of  the  body. 

What  is  man?  He  is  within  His  body.  His  body  is  his 

4.  The  Awareness  Question 

A.  The  Scientific  Answer 

Everything  that  man  knows  is  mediated  by  the  human  ner- 
vous system.  Everything  that  man  knows  about  the  external 
world  and  his  place,  his  identity  in  it,  comes  through  the  sense 

Neurologists  and  sensory  physiologists  have  much  to  tell  us 
about  the  incredible  complexity  of  the  sensory  mechanisms. 
The  eye  responding  to  light,  the  auditory  system  trembling  to 
the  finest  variation  in  air  vibrations,  the  olfactory  organs  receiv- 
ing and  processing  airborne  scents,  the  mouth  and  tongue 
honeycombed  with  taste  buds.  Touch.  Temperature.  Pain. 

I  lectured  once  to  a  group  of  priests  and  nuns  about  the 
sensory  experience.  "I  am  holding  in  my  hand,"  I  said,  "the 
most  sensual  book  ever  written,  illustrated,  too,  with  the  most 
sensual  pictures  you  ever  saw."  I  was  holding  The  Anatomy  and 
Physiology  of  the  Senses. 

All  our  beliefs  and  convictions  about  the  existence  of  an  out- 
side world,  the  only  threads  we  have  that  connect  our  lonely 
solipsism  to  other  forms  of  life  and  energy  and  consciousness 
"out  there"  are  based  on  data  registered  on  our  sensory  radar 
and  processed  by  our  brains. 

Each  human  being  is  a  spaceship.  No,  each  human  being  is  a 
galaxy  spinning  lonely  in  space,  and  the  only  contacts  we  have 
with  other  galaxies  (light-years  away,  really)  are  the  flimsy 
flickerings  on  our  sense  organs. 

And  what  an  ontological,  epistemological  leap  of  faith  it  is, 
really,  to  believe  in  the  existence  of  each  other!  You  read  this 
page,  light  hits  your  eyes,  and  your  brain  sees  squiggles  of  black 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  32 

and  white  which  are  words.  Do  you  believe  that  you  are  really 
reading  what  Timothy  Leary  wrote?  Does  this  pattern  of  black 
and  white  lines  lead  you  to  believe  in  the  existence  of  a  seed- 
bearing,  soul-carrying  human  being,  Timothy  Leary,  who  sat 
one  New  Year's  Day  at  a  wood-grained  desk  littered  with  notes, 
clippings,  books,  loose  tobacco,  coffee  cups,  ashtrays,  looking 
out  a  picture  window  at  the  silver-gray  expanse  of  the  Pacific 
Ocean,  writing  these  lines? 

How  can  you  be  sure  that  Bacon  wrote  Shakespeare?  How  can 
you  be  sure  that  those  lines  were  not  arranged  by  a  computer 
which  (reacting  to  a  Hooper-rating  survey)  proceeded  to  scan 
and  sort  quadrillions  of  pages  of  past  computer  writing  and 
rearrange  these  lines  designed  to  feed  back  exactly  that  level  of 
ignorance-superstition-word  magic  that  will  comfort  and  please 
you?  Do  you  accept  your  ocular  data  (this  book)  that  Timothy 
Leary  exists?  If  you  could  touch  me,  smell  me,  feel  my  warmth, 
hear  my  voice  or  my  smoker's  cough,  would  you  be  more  con- 
vinced that  I  exist? 

Common  sense  convinces  us  and  Dr.  Johnson  that  something 
exists  out  there. 

But  the  mystery  of  knowing  remains.  And  the  awesome  find- 
ings of  biochemical  neurology  do  not  simplify  our  understand- 
ing of  how  we  know,  how  we  become  conscious. 

The  human  brain,  we  are  told,  is  composed  of  about  ten 
billion  nerve  cells,  any  one  of  which  may  connect  with  as  many 
as  25,000  other  nerve  cells.  The  number  of  interconnections 
which  this  adds  up  to  would  stagger  even  an  astronomer— and 
astronomers  are  used  to  dealing  with  astronomical  numbers. 
The  number  is  far  greater  than  all  the  atoms  in  the  universe. 
This  is  why  physiologists  remain  unimpressed  by  computers. 
A  computer  sophisticated  enough  to  handle  this  number  of 
interconnections  would  have  to  be  big  enough  to  cover  the 

Into  this  matrix  floods  **about  100  million  sensations  a  second 
from  .  .  .  [the]  .  .  .  various  senses."  And  somewhere  in  that 

Cellular  level  of  consciousness:  the  message  of  DNA.    Terrell  P.  Watson 

Cellular  level  of  consciousness:  the  message  of  DNA.    Terrell  P.  Watson 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  33 

10-billion-cell  galaxy  is  a  tiny  solar  system  of  connected  neurons 
which  is  aware  of  your  social  self.  Your  "ego"  is  to  your  brain 
what  the  planet  earth  is  to  our  galaxy  with  its  100,000  million 

B.  The  Psychedelic  Answer  to  the  awareness  question  should 
now  be  apparent.  There  is  no  answer,  only  a  bleak  choice  of 
blind  hope  or  insightful  despair. 

On  the  dour  side,  the  attentive,  highly  conscious  person 
realizes  that  he  is  the  almost  helpless  victim  of  the  accidental  or 
deliberate  range  of  light-sound-pressure-chemical  energies  that 
impinge  on  his  sensory  nerve  endings.  At  one  time,  when  we 
were  trustfully  slumbering,  a  selfish,  insane,  power-hungry  com- 
bine of  exploitive  conspirators  suddenly  moved  in  and  systemati- 
cally censored  and  manipulated  what  was  to  hit  our  eyes,  ears, 
nose,  mouth,  skin.  A  well-organized  conspiracy  to  enslave  our 
consciousness.  A  science  fiction  horror  movie  in  which  our 
captors  decided  exactly  which  energies  and  sensory  stimuli  we 
could  encounter.  Our  10-billion-cell  nervous  systems  have  been 
monopolized  by  these  ruthless,  selfish  captors.  We  walk  around 
on  a  fake-prop  television  studio  set  that  our  masters  have  de- 
signed—and we  play  the  parts  they  assign.  Using  Pavlovian  con- 
ditioning of  reward  and  punishment,  our  grim  rulers  lead  us 
unsuspectingly  to  do  exactly  what  they  wish. 

This  grim  combine  which  determines  the  scope  and  style  of 
our  consciousness  (for  its  own  benefit)  operates  through  our 
parents  (themselves  blind,  frightened  slaves)  and  our  educa- 
tional, acculturation  institutions. 

We  have  taken  leave  of  our  senses.  We  have  been  robbed 
blind.  Sensory  conditioning  has  forced  us  to  accept  a  "reality" 
which  is  a  comic-tragic  farce  illusion.  We  can  never  rid  our- 
selves of  the  insanities  deeply  imprinted  during  infancy  and 
childhood  on  our  delicate,  vulnerable  nervous  systems.  We  can 
never  free  ourselves  completely. 

On  the  bright  side,  we  can  obtain  a  momentary  (and  even 
longer)  release  from  the  neurological  prison.  We  can  come  to 
our  senses,  turn  off  the  conditioning  and  experience  afresh  the 
hardly  bearable  ecstasy  of  direct  energy  exploding  on  our  nerve 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  34 

endings.  We  can  become  seers,  hear-oes,  smelling  tasters  in  real 

The  awakening  of  the  senses  is  the  most  basic  aspect  of  the 
psychedelic  experience.  The  open  eye,  the  naked  touch,  the 
intensification  and  vivification  of  ear  and  nose  and  taste.  This  is 
the  Zen  moment  of  satori,  the  nature  mystic's  high,  the  sudden 
centering  of  consciousness  on  the  sense  organ,  the  real-eye-za- 
tion  that  this  is  it!  I  am  eyel  I  am  hear!  I  knosel  I  am  in 

The  ability  to  turn  on  the  senses,  to  escape  the  conditioned 
mind,  to  throb  in  harmony  with  the  energies  radiating  on  the 
sense  organs,  the  skillful  control  of  one's  senses,  has  for  thou- 
sands of  years  been  the  mark  of  a  sage,  a  holy  man,  a  radiant 

Control  of  the  senses  is  a  basic  part  of  every  enduring  reli- 
gious method.  Control  does  not  mean  repression  or  closing  off. 
Control  means  the  ability  to  turn  off  the  mind,  ignore  the  en- 
ticing clamor  of  symbolic  seduction  and  open  the  senses  like 
flowers,  accepting  like  sunshine  the  gift  of  those  energies  which 
man's  senses  are  designed  to  receive. 

5.  The  Ego  Question 

A.  The  Scientific  Answer 

Who  am  I? 

Basic  question,  invariably  and  eagerly  and  insistently  an- 
swered by  social  institutions.  Always  for  their  own  benefit. 
Every  religious  hierarchy  can  tell  you  who  you  are— Catholic, 
Protestant,  Jew  or  atheist.  Right?  And  every  government  agrees 
you  are  an  American  or  a  Russian  or  a  Turk.  Let's  see  your 

And  the  endless,  lesser,  monolithic  social  agencies  tell  you 
who  you  are— occupation,  recreation,  political  affiliation,  social 
class,  status,  branch  of  service. 

Now  comes  the  new  secular  state  religion— psychology,  with 
its  up-to-date  answers.  The  great  ego-identity  quest.  The  na- 
tional personality  sweepstakes.  The  image  game. 

For  the  American  the  question,  who  am  I?  is  answered  totally 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God       '  [35 

in  terms  of  artificial  social  roles.  What  part  do  you  play  in 
which  TV  show?  And  are  you  good  or  bad?  How  is  your  Hooper 
rating?  Are  you  popular?  Shallow,  transient,  secular  evasion  of 
the  physical  and  metaphysical  identity. 

Who  am  I?  The  perspective  on  this  question  comes  only 
when  you  step  off  the  TV  stage  set  defined  by  mass-media-social- 
psychology-adjustment-normality.  I  exist  at  every  level  of 
energy  and  every  level  of  consciousness.  Who  am  I?  I'm  you. 

At  the  atomic  level  I  am  a  galaxy  of  nuclear-powered  atoms 
spinning  through  changing  patterns.  I  am  the  universe,  the  cen- 
ter and  guardian  temple  of  all  energy.  I  am  God  of  Light.  Who 
am  I?  I'm  you. 

At  the  cellular  level  I  am  the  entire  chain  of  life.  I  am  the  key 
rung  of  the  DNA  ladder,  center  of  the  evolutionary  process,  the 
current  guardian  of  the  seed,  the  now-eye  of  the  2-bill ion-year- 
old  uncoiling  serpent.  I  am  God  of  Life.  I'm  you. 

At  the  somatic  level  I  am  my  body— the  most  intricate,  intel- 
ligent, complex  form  of  energy  structure.  The  network  of  my 
organs  and  tissues  is  the  last  word  in  cosmic  miniaturization, 
celestial  packaging.  I  am  the  Resurrection  of  the  Body.  I'm  you. 

At  the  sensory  level  I  am  the  divine  receiving  station,  the 
sacred  communications  satellite,  a  two-legged,  trembling-tissue, 
Jodrell  Bank  radar  telescope,  dancing,  grumbling,  sniffing 
Geiger  counter.  I  am  the  Darwinian  wiretap,  a  billion  sensory 
microphones  picking  up  vibrations  from  planetary  energy  sys- 
tems. I  am  the  all-time,  worldwide  retinal  ABC,  eardrum  RCA, 
International  Smell  and  Tell,  the  consolidated  General  Foods 
taste  laboratory.  I  am  God  of  Common  Sense.  I'm  you. 

But  there's  an  added  feature.  Each  generation,  I,  the  timeless 
God,  atom  bearer,  seed  carrier,  return  in  a  new,  improved, 
Detroit-model  electrical-eye,  horseless,  carry-all  body  pushed 
onto  a  new  social  stage  set.  I  am  an  American.  I  was  an  Irish 
farmer.  I  was  a  Celtic  minstrel.  I  was  this  one  and  that  one. 
Each  time  carried  onstage  blinking,  puking,  bawling,  bewil- 
dered by  the  bizarre  novelty  of  each  new  drama,  untutored  in 
the  language  of  the  new  script  (did  she  say  her  name  was 
Mommie?) ,  unaware  of  the  plot,  each  time  having  forgotten  my 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  36 

atomic,  cellular,  somatic,  sensory  divinity,  each  time  painfully 
being  pushed  and  hauled  into  some  ludicrous,  histrionic  con- 
sistency known  today  as  my  personality,  known  yesterday  as 

Thus,  I  am  the  undeniably  psychological  unit.  A  mind,  a  box 
of  conditioned  Pavlovian  reflexes,  a  social  robot,  here  adjusted, 
there  maladjusted,  sometimes  good  (approved  of)  sometimes 
bad  (censored) .  The  center  of  my  psychological  mandala,  the 
mainspring  of  my  personality,  is  social  conditioning.  Reward 
and  punishment.  What  will  the  neighbors  think?  is  the  begin- 
ning and  end  of  modern  psychology. 

Now,  who  am  I?  I'm  you.  I'm  Timothy  What's  His  Name.  I 
am  what  the  Reader's  Digest  likes  and  dislikes. 

This  commitment  of  ego  consciousness  to  the  social  game  is 
inevitable  and  cannot  be  eliminated  despite  the  poignant  ap- 
peals to  drop  out.  We  cannot  drop  out  of  society.  We  can  only 
drop  out  of  social  roles  and  dramas  which  are  unloving,  con- 
tracting and  which  distract  us  from  the  discovery  of  our  atomic, 
cellular,  somatic  and  sensory  divinity.  Spiritual  appeals  to  tran- 
scend the  ego  are  vain.  Like  any  other  level  of  consciousness  of 
energy,  ego  is.  Karma  is.  All  we  can  do  is  center  ego  conscious- 
ness and  see  it  in  proper  relationship  to  the  other  "I's."  The 
"social  ego"  is  abysmally  trivial  when  compared  to  the  "atomic 
I,"  the  "DNA  I,"  but  that's  the  glorious  humor  of  the  cosmic 
hide-and-seek.  That  "social  ego"  can  possess  such  eccentric,  fool- 
ish power  to  camouflage  the  other  divinities  that  lie  beneath 
our  skin. 

So  let  us  pray:  Almighty  Ego,  set  I  free!  Almighty  Ego,  let  my 
I's  see! 

B.  The  Psychedelic  Correlates 

Modern  psychology,  like  modern  man,  does  not  like  to  face 
the  sparse,  wrinkled-skin  facts  about  human  transience.  The 
personality  chess  game  is  blown  up  to  compelling  importance. 
How  am  I  doing?  Modem  education,  advertising,  indeed  the 
whole  culture,  is  hooked  up  in  a  full-time  hard-sell  campaign  to 
reassure  the  average  person  that  he  is  a  good  Joe,  a  helluva 


The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [37 

Then  he  takes  LSD. 

Sensory  chaos,  somatic  inundation,  cellular  revelation.  The 
plastic-doll  nature  of  social  reality  and  social  ego  is  glaringly 
obvious.  In  a  word,  ego  discovers  that  ego  is  a  fraudulent  actor 
in  a  fake  show.  Rubber  stamp  and  tinsel. 

Ego  discovers  that  I  is  atomic,  cellular,  sensory,  somatic  and 
soon  to  pass  on.  Ego  gets  frightened.  Panicked.  Ego  cries  for 
help.  Get  me  a  psychiatrist!  Help!  Get  me  back  to  the  nice, 
comforting  TV  stage. 

The  impact  of  LSD  is  exactly  this  brutal  answer  to  the  ques- 
tion, who  is  ego?  The  LSD  revelation  is  the  clear  perspective. 
The  LSD  panic  is  the  terror  that  ego  is  lost  forever.  The  LSD 
ecstasy  is  the  joyful  discovery  that  ego,  with  its  pitiful  shams  and 
strivings,  is  only  a  fraction  of  my  identity. 

6.  The  Ennotional  Question 

A.  The  Scientific  Answer 

What  should  I  move  toward?  What  direction  my  motion? 
What  should  I  feel?  The  emotional  and  feeling  questions. 

Here  science  fails  miserably  to  give  us  answers  because  there 
is  little  objective  data,  and  the  accepted  theories  of  emotional 
behavior— the  psychiatric— are  naive,  inadequate,  pompously 
trivial.  The  best-known  theory  of  emotions,  the  Freudian,  is  a 
hodgepodge  of  platitude,  banality  and  rabbinical  piety. 

All  that  Freud  said  is  that  modern  man  and  society  are  com- 
pletely dishonest.  Society  lies  to  the  individual  and  forces  him 
to  lie  to  himself.  Freud  called  this  process  of  self-deception  the 
unconscious.  The  unconscious  is  the  hidden.  Freud  (the  lie 
detector  who  lied)  conscientiously  listed  the  various  ways  in 
which  man  prevaricates  and  then  developed  a  system  of  humili- 
ating cross-examination  and  spirit-breaking  brainwashing  which 
forces  the  rare  "successful"  patient  to  give  up  his  favorite  pack 
of  lies  (which  he  chose  as  being  the  best  solution  to  an  impos- 
sible situation)  and  grovelingly  to  accept  the  psychoanalyst's 
system  of  dishonesty.  Have  you  ever  noticed  how  unbearably 
**dead"  and  juiceless  psychoanalysts  and  their  patients  are?  The 
only  cheerful  fact  about  psychoanalysis  is  that  most  patients 
don't  get  cured  and  are  stubborn  enough  to  preserve  their  own 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  38 

amateur  and  original  lie  in  favor  of  the  psychoanalyst's  con- 
forming lie. 

If  anyone  has  any  lingering  doubt  about  the  superstitious  and 
barbarian  state  of  psychiatry  and  psychoanalysis,  reflect  on  this 
fact.  Today,  fifty  years  after  Freud,  the  average  mental  hospital 
in  the  United  States  is  a  Kafkaesque,  Orwellian,  prison  camp 
more  terrifying  than  Dachau  because  the  captors  claim  to  be 
healers.  Two  hundred  years  ago  our  treatment  of  the  village 
idiot  and  nutty  old  Aunt  Agatha  was  gently  Utopian  compared 
to  the  intolerant  savagery  of  the  best  mental  hospital. 

So  where  do  we  find  the  scientific  answer  to  the  emotional 
question?  Can  you  really  bear  to  know? 

Emotions  are  the  lowest  form  of  consciousness.  Emotional 
actions  are  the  most  contracted,  narrowing,  dangerous  form  of 

The  romantic  poetry  and  fiction  of  the  last  200  years  has 
quite  blinded  us  to  the  fact  that  emotions  are  an  active  and 
harmful  form  of  stupor. 

Any  peasant  can  tell  you  that.  Beware  of  emotions.  Any  child 
can  tell  you  that.  Watch  out  for  the  emotional  person.  He  is  a 
lurching  lunatic. 

Emotions  are  caused  by  biochemical  secretions  in  the  body  to 
serve  during  the  state  of  acute  emergency.  An  emotional  person 
is  a  blind,  crazed  maniac.  Emotions  are  addictive  and  narcotic 
and  stupefacient. 

Do  not  trust  anyone  who  comes  on  emotional. 

What  are  the  emotions? 

In  a  book  entitled  Interpersonal  Diagnosis  of  Personality, 
written  when  I  was  a  psychologist,  I  presented  classifications  of 
emotions  and  detailed  descriptions  of  their  moderate  and  ex- 
treme manifestations.  Emotions  are  all  based  on  fear.  Like  an 
alcoholic  or  a  junkie,  the  frightened  person  reaches  for  his 
favorite  escape  into  action. 

Commanding,  competing,  punishing,  aggressing,  rebelling, 
complaining,  abasing,  submitting,  placating,  agreeing,  fawning, 
flattering,  giving. 

The  emotional  person  cannot  think;  he  cannot  perform  any 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  39 

effective  game  action  (except  in  acts  of  physical  aggression  and 
strength) .  The  emotional  person  is  turned  off  sensually.  His 
body  is  a  churning  robot;  he  has  lost  all  connection  with  cel- 
lular wisdom  or  atomic  revelation.  The  person  in  an  emotional 
state  is  an  inflexible  robot  gone  berserk. 

What  psychologists  call  love  is  emotional  greed  and  self-en- 
hancing gluttony  based  on  fear. 

B.  The  Psychedelic  Correlate 

The  only  state  in  which  we  can  learn,  harmonize,  grow, 
merge,  join,  understand  is  the  absence  of  emotion.  This  is  called 
bliss  or  ecstasy,  attained  through  centering  the  emotions. 

Moods  such  as  sorrow  and  joy  accompany  emotions.  Like  a 
junkie  who  has  just  scored  or  an  alcoholic  with  a  bottle  in  hand, 
the  emotional  person  feels  good  when  he  has  scored  emotion- 
ally, i.e.,  beaten  someone  up  or  been  beaten  up.  Won  a  competi- 
tive victory.  Gorged  himself  on  person  grabbing. 

Conscious  love  is  not  an  emotion;  it  is  serene  merging  with 
yourself,  with  other  people,  with  other  forms  of  energy.  Love 
cannot  exist  in  an  emotional  state. 

Only  the  person  who  has  been  psychotic  or  had  a  deep  psy- 
chedelic trip  can  understand  what  emotions  do  to  the  human 

The  great  kick  of  the  mystic  experience,  the  exultant,  ecstatic 
hit,  is  the  sudden  relief  from  emotional  pressure. 

Did  you  imagine  that  there  could  be  emotions  in  heaven? 
Emotions  are  closely  tied  to  ego  games.  Check  your  emotions  at 
the  door  to  paradise. 

Why,  then,  are  emotions  built  into  the  human  repertoire  if 
they  are  so  painful,  demanding  and  blinding?  There  is  a  basic 
survival  purpose.  Emotions  are  the  emergency  alarms.  The 
organism  at  the  point  of  death  terror  goes  into  a  paroxysm  of 
frantic  activity.  Like  a  fish  flipping  blindly  out  of  water.  Like  a 
crazed,  cornered  animal. 

There  are  rare  times  when  emotions  are  appropriate  and 
relevant.  The  reflex  biochemical  spurt.  Flight  or  fight.  There 
are  times  when  emotional  bluffs,  like  the  hair  rising  on  a  dog's 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  40 

neck,  are  appropriate.  But  the  sensible  animal  avoids  situations 
which  elicit  fear  and  the  accompanying  emotion.  Your  wise 
animal  prefers  to  relax  or  to  play— using  his  senses,  tuned  into 
his  delicious  body-organ  music,  closing  his  eyes  to  drift  back  in 
cellular  memory.  Dogs  and  cats  are  high  all  the  time— except 
when  bad  luck  demands  emotional  measures. 

The  emotional  human  being  is  an  evolutionary  drug  addict 
continuously  and  recklessly  shooting  himself  up  with  adrenalin 
and  other  dark  ferments.  The  way  to  turn  off  the  emotions  is  to 
turn  on  the  senses,  turn  on  to  your  body,  turn  on  to  your  cellu- 
lar reincarnation  circus,  turn  on  to  the  electric  glow  within  and 
engage  only  in  turn-on  ego  games. 

7.  The  Ultimate  Escape  Question 

A.  The  Scientific  Answer 

The  question  is:  How  does  it  end? 

The  answer  is:  It  doesn't. 

Ask  any  scientist  (no  matter  which  level  of  energy  he  stud- 
ies) ,  and  he'll  tell  you.  It  keeps  going.  At  the  same  beat.  On. 
Off.  On.  Off. 

Atomic.  Galaxies  flash  on  and  then  off. 

Cellular.  Species  flare  out  and  retract. 

Somatic.  The  heart  beats  and  stops.  Beats  and  stops.  The 
lungs  inhale  and  exhale. 

Sensory.  Light  comes  in  waves  of  particles  hurtling  against 
retinal  beaches.  High  tide,  see.  Low  tide,  no  see.  The  neural 
message  dot-dashes  along  the  nerve  fibers.  Light-dark.  Light- 
dark.  Sound  waves  pile  up  on  the  auditory  membrane  and  fall 
back.  Sound-silence.  Sound-silence. 

There  is  no  form  of  energy  which  does  not  come  in  the  same 
rhythm.  Yin.  Yang.  In.  Out.  The  galaxy  itself  and  every  struc- 
ture within  it  is  a  binary  business,  an  oscillating  dance.  Start. 

The  physicist,  the  biologist,  the  physiologist,  the  neurologist, 
knows  all  about  the  end  of  the  cycle  at  the  level  of  energy  he 
studies.  Every  scientist  knows  that  death  is  exactly  symmetrical 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  41 

to  birth  at  every  level  of  energy.  Even  the  sociologists  and  his- 
torians who  study  the  human  game  structure  know  that  social 
institutions  start  and  stop. 

There  is  only  one  level  of  consciousness  that  cannot  accept 
the  universal  on-off  switch,  and  that  is  the  ego.  The  astronomer 
can  gaze  with  equanimity  at  nova  explosions  and  forecast  the 
death  of  the  solar  system,  but  when  it  comes  to  his  own  ego 
chessboard,  there  is  the  illusion  of  enduring  solidity.  Ego  is 
unable  to  learn  from  the  past  or  to  predict  the  obvious  events  of 
the  future  because  of  its  deep  dread  of  confronting  mortality. 
Ego  focuses  consciousness  on  the  few  immediately  neighboring 
pieces  of  the  game  board  because  ego  knows  that  one  glance 
across  the  game  board  or  beyond  it  puts  the  whole  thing  in 
perspective.  Where  it  began  and  how  it  will  end.  Start  stop. 
Off  on. 

The  Buddha's  loving  parents  tried  to  make  sure  their  son 
would  not  consider  the  four  chess  pieces  that  lead  off  the  game 
board— sickness,  age,  death,  and  the  magician-guru. 

Oriental  philosophy  points  out  that  every  form  is  an  illusion. 
Maya.  Everything  at  every  level  of  energy  is  a  shuttling  series  of 
vibrations  as  apparently  solid  as  the  whirring  metal  disk  made 
by  rotating  fan  blades.  Ego  resists  this  notion  and  touches  the 
immediate  solidity  of  phenomena.  We  dislike  slowing  the  mo- 
tion picture  down  because  the  film  flickers.  Annoying  reminder 
that  we  view  not  unbroken  continuity  but  an  off-on  ribbon  of 
still  pictures. 

Life  is  an  illusion.  There  one  second,  gone  the  next.  Now  you 
see  it,  now  you  don't. 

Death  is  equally  illusory.  Suicide  a  farce.  The  desire  to  escape 
is  exactly  as  pointless  as  the  desire  to  hang  onto  life.  How  can 
you  clutch  onto  or  escape  from  a  relentless  click-clack  process 
that  continues  despite  the  mind's  interpretation?  And  despite 
our  "feelings"  about  it? 

But  the  illusory  game  goes  on.  Ego  sweats  to  maintain  a 
tenacious  grasp  on  the  ungraspable.  And  then,  in  moments  of 
emotional  despair,  decides  to  hide,  to  quit.  Hell  is  the  convic- 
tion that  the  game  won't  stop.  Eternal  game  playing.  No  exit. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  42 

Hell  is  the  idea  that  the  game  switch  won't  turn  off.  Suicide  is 
the  deluded  attempt  to  escape  from  hell. 

Hell  is  a  mistake  in  judgment.  A  bum  trip  idea.  The  ego's 
stranglehold  on  the  film  projector.  Ego  is  caught  in  a  repetitious 
loop.  Over  and  over  and  over.  Suicide  is  the  escape  from  ego. 
Only  ego  contemplates  escape.  Can  you  imagine  an  animal  kill- 
ing itself  in  egocentric  pique? 

Ego  attempts  to  turn  itself  off  through  anesthesia.  Uncon- 
sciousness. Fast  suicide  or  slow  narcosis.  Alcohol  dulls  the  mind 
game  and  produces  emotional  stupor.  Too  much  alcohol  pro- 
vides the  anesthetic  escape.  Barbiturates  and  tranquilizers  and 
sleeping  pills  are  escape  tickets  bought  by  the  frantic  eschato- 
logical  anethesiologist. 

Have  you  ever  talked  to  an  articulate  junkie?  The  appeal  of 
heroin  is  the  void.  The  warm,  soft  cocoon  of  nothingness. 
Surcease.  Easeful  death.  The  vacuum  gamble.  The  game  of  the 
junkie  is  to  nod  out.  To  pass  over  the  line  into  unconsciousness. 
The  last  thought  of  the  junkie  as  he  slips  away  is,  have  I  gone 
too  far  this  time?  Overdose?  Au  revoir  or  good-bye? 

B.  The  Psychedelic  Correlate 

The  deep  psychedelic  experience  is  a  death-rebirth  flip.  You 
turn  on  to  the  ancient  rhythm,  and  you  become  its  beat.  All 
right,  now!  Are  you  ready?  The  whole  thing  is  about  to  click 

The  successful  mystic  is  he  who  goes  with  it.  Lets  it  happen. 
Hello.  Good-bye.  Hello.  Good-bye.  Oh,  my  God!  You  again! 

The  bad  trip,  the  LSD  panic,  is  the  terrorized  reluctance  to 
go  with  it.  Frantic  grabbing  for  the  intangible  switch.  Ego  cries, 
keep  it  on! 

The  glory  of  the  psychedelic  moment  is  the  victory  over  life 
and  death  won  by  seeing  the  oscillating  dance  of  energy  and 
yielding  to  it. 

The  age-old  appeal  of  the  psychedelic  experience  is  its  solu- 
tion to  the  problem  of  escape.  The  visionary  revelation  answers 
the  escape  question.  There  is  no  death.  Ecstatic,  mirthful  relief. 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  43 

There  is  nothing  to  avoid,  nothing  to  escape,  nothing  to  fear. 
There  is  just  off-on,  in-out,  start-stop,  light-dark,  flash-delay. 

Death,  void,  oblivion,  is  the  split-second  pause.  I  accept  the 
on.  I  accept  the  off. 

It  is  of  interest  that  the  heroin  addict  and  the  illuminated 
Buddha  end  up  at  the  same  place.  The  void.  The  junkie  is  a 
deeply  religious  person.  The  alcoholic  is,  too.  Thus  our  physi- 
cians and  psychiatrists  have  no  luck  in  "curing"  addicts.  If  you 
see  an  addict  as  a  social  misfit,  a  civic  nuisance  who  must  be 
rehabilitated,  you  completely  miss  the  point. 

To  cure  the  junkie  and  the  alcoholic,  you  must  humbly 
admit  that  he  is  a  more  deeply  spiritual  person  than  you,  and 
you  accept  the  cosmic  validity  of  his  search  to  transcend  the 
game,  and  you  help  him  see  that  blackout  drugs  are  just  bad 
methodology  because  you  just  can't  keep  holding  the  "off" 
switch  and  that  the  way  to  reach  the  void  is  through  psychedelic 
rather  than  anesthetic  experience. 

Drugs  Are  the  Religion  of  the  People — ^The  Only  Hope  Is  Dope 

In  the  preceding  pages  I  have  suggested  that  man  can  become 
conscious  of  each  level  of  energy  defined  by  scientists. 

Metaphysics  is  subjective  physics,  the  psychology  of  atomic- 
electronic  activity.  Metabiology  is  cellular  psychology.  Meta- 
physiology  is  somatic  psychology.  The  systematic  study  of  in- 
ternal body  states.  Metaneurology  is  sensory  physiology,  the 
systematic,  introspective  study  of  sense  organs.  Metapsychology 
is  the  study  of  conditioning  by  the  nervous  system  that  has  been 
conditioned.  Your  ego  unravels  its  own  genesis.  Metapsychiatry 
is  the  systematic  production  and  control  of  endocrine  states 
within  your  own  body.  Meta-anesthesiology  is  the  systematic 
production  and  control  of  states  of  unconsciousness  within  your 
own  body. 

Everyone  must  become  his  own  Einstein,  his  own  Darwin,  his 
own  Claude  Bernard,  his  own  Penfield,  his  own  Pavlov,  his  own 
Freud,  his  own  anesthesiologist. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [44 

From  the  theological  standpoint,  everyone  must  discover  the 
seven  faces  of  God  within  his  own  body. 

This  task,  which  at  first  glance  may  seem  fantastically  Uto- 
pian, is  actually  very  easy  to  initiate  because  there  now  exist 
instruments  which  can  move  consciousness  to  any  desired  level. 
The  laboratory  equipment  for  experimental  theology,  for  in- 
ternal science,  is  of  course  made  of  the  stuff  of  consciousness 
itself,  made  of  the  same  material  as  the  data  to  be  studied.  The 
instruments  of  systematic  religion  are  chemicals.  Drugs.  Dope. 

If  you  are  serious  about  your  religion,  if  you  really  wish  to 
commit  yourself  to  the  spiritual  quest,  you  must  learn  how  to 
use  psychochemicals.  Drugs  are  the  religion  of  the  twenty-first 
century.  Pursuing  the  religious  life  today  without  using  psyche- 
delic drugs  is  like  studying  astronomy  with  the  naked  eye  be- 
cause that's  how  they  did  it  in  the  first  century  a.d.,  and  besides, 
telescopes  are  unnatural. 

There  Are  Specific  Drugs  to  Turn  On  Each  Level  of 

Modern  psychopharmacology  is  written  and  practiced  by  scien- 
tists who  do  not  take  drugs  (and  who  therefore  write  textbooks 
about  events  they  have  never  experienced) .  Current  psycho- 
pharmacology  is  a  superstitious  form  of  black  magic  sponsored 
and  supported  by  the  federal  Food  and  Drug  Administration,  a 
government  agency  about  as  enlightened  as  the  Spanish  Inquisi- 
tion. Note  that  the  rapidly  growing  enforcement  branch  of  the 
FDA  uses  instruments  unknown  to  Torquemada— guns,  wire- 
taps—in addition  to  the  classic  methods  of  informers  and  pro- 
vocateurs. There  is  thus  enormous  ignorance  about  the  science 
of  consciousness  alteration  and  a  vigorous  punitive  campaign  to 
prevent  its  application. 

There  are  specific  drugs  now  easily  available  which  can  turn 
on  each  level  of  consciousness.  Since  Americans  are  more  fa- 
miliar with  and  committed  to  consciousness-contracting  drugs,  I 
shall  list  the  better-known  psychochemical  instruments  in  re- 
verse order. 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  45 

7.  The  Anesthetic  State  is  produced  by  narcotics,  barbitu- 
rates, and  large  doses  of  alcohol.  Anyone  can  reach  the  void  by 
self-administration  of  stupefacients.  Most  Americans  know  just 
how  to  pass  out. 

6.  The  State  of  Emotional  Stupor  is  produced  by  moderate 
doses  of  alcohol.  Three  martinis  do  nicely. 

5.  The  State  of  Ego  Consciousness  is  enhanced  by  pep  pills, 
energizers  consumed  daily  by  millions  of  Americans.  Pep  pills 
make  you  feel  good.  Make  you  feel  active.  They  change  noth- 
ing, but  they  propel  you  into  game  motion.  Coffee,  tea,  and 
Coca-Cola  are  mild  versions. 

4.  The  State  of  Sensory  Awareness  is  produced  by  any  psy- 
chedelic drug— LSD,  mescaline,  psilocybin,  MDA,  yaje,  hashish, 
Semyl,  DMT— but  the  specific,  direct  trigger  for  turning  on  the 
senses  is  marijuana. 

3.  The  State  of  Somatic  Awareness  is  attained  by  any  psy- 
chedelic drugs  stronger  than  marijuana  but  the  specific  triggers 
for  cakra  consciousness  are  hashish  and  MDA. 

2.  The  Cellular  Level  of  Consciousness  is  attained  by  any  of 
the  stronger  psychedelics— peyote,  LSD,  mescaline,  psilocybin. 

L  The  Atomic-Electronic  Level  of  Consciousness  is  produced 
by  the  most  powerful  psychedelics— LSD,  STP,  DMT. 

Try  Your  Own  Experiment 

This  listing  of  seven  levels  of  consciousness  is  based  not  on 
revelation  or  poetic  metaphor  but  on  the  structure  of  modern 
science.  We  simply  assume  that  there  is  a  different  level  of  con- 
sciousness for  each  major  division  of  science— which,  in  turn,  is 
based  on  the  major  classes  of  energy  manifestation. 

The  decision  as  to  which  drugs  turn  on  which  levels  of  con- 
sciousness is  empirical,  based  on  thousands  of  psychedelic  ex- 
periences. I  have  personally  taken  drugs  which  trigger  off  each 
level  of  consciousness  hundreds  of  times. 

But  my  findings  can  be  easily  checked  out.  Any  reader  can 
initiate  experiments  of  his  own  with  easily  available  chemicals. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  46 

Turn  on  a  tape  recorder  during  your  next  cocktail  party. 
Notice  how  rational  ego-game  playing  deteriorates  and  the 
emotional  level  rises  in  exact  proportion  to  the  amount  of  booze 
consumed.  You  have  moved  consciousness  from  level  5  to  level  6. 

Next,  turn  on  your  tape  recorder  during  a  pot  party.  Notice 
how  the  emotional  level  drops,  serenity  increases.  Observe  the 
intensified  attention  to  sensory  energy.  The  relaxation  of  game 
tension.  You  have  moved  consciousness  from  level  5  to  level  4. 

If  you  are  a  diligent  experimental  theologian,  you  may  wish 
to  see  if  you  can  take  the  fantastic  voyage  down  your  body  or 
down  into  time,  using  the  appropriate  chemical  instruments. 
Psychedelic  yoga  is  not  a  mysterious,  arcane  specialty  reserved 
for  Ph.D.'s  and  a  scientific  elite.  Anyone  who  is  curious  about 
the  nature  of  God  and  reality  can  perform  the  experiments. 
Indeed,  millions  of  Americans  have  done  just  this  in  the  last  few 

The  Seven  Religious  Yogas 

The  psychedelic  experience,  far  from  being  new,  is  man's  oldest 
and  most  classic  adventure  into  meaning.  Every  religion  in 
world  history  was  founded  on  the  basis  of  some  flipped-out 
visionary  trip. 

Religion  is  the  systematic  attempt  at  focusing  man's  con- 
sciousness. Comparative  religion  should  concern  itself  less  with 
the  exoteric  and  academic  differences  and  more  with  studying 
the  different  levels  of  consciousness  turned  on  by  each  religion. 

We  see  that  there  are  seven  approaches  employed  by  the  great 
world  religions. 

Seven  dialects  of  God 

1.  Buddhism  attempts  to  transcend  life  and  cellular  manifes- 
tations and  to  strive  toward  the  white  light  of  the  void,  the 
unitary  atomic-electronic  flash  beyond  form. 

2.  Hinduism  is  a  vegetative  jungle  of  reincarnation  imagery. 
Clearly  cellular.  Evolutionary.  Genetic. 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [47 

3.  Tantra    (Tibetan,   Bengali)    focuses  on  somatic   energy 
(Kundalini)  and  cakra  consciousness. 

4.  Zen  J  Hasidic  Judaism,  Siifism,  and  early  Christianity  used 
methods  for  centering  sensual  energy. 

5.  Protestantism  and  Talmudic  Judaism  are  the  classic  ego 
religions.  Logic,  hard  work  and  Main  Street  practicality  will  get 
you  to  heaven. 

6.  Middle-class  Catholicism  and  devil-oriented  fundamental- 
ist sects  are  based  on  the  arousal  of  emotion— fear. 

7.  Suicide  and  death  cults 

Different  Sciences  Study  Different  Basic  Questions 

Each  of  the  seven  basic  questions  faced  by  man  has  been  studied 
for  thousands  of  years  by  thoughtful  individuals  and  by  institu- 
tions, disciplines  and  professions.  In  the  last  60  years,  physical 
and  biological  scientists  have  pretty  well  agreed  on  a  systematic 
and  unified  perspective  of  the  wide  range  of  energy  processes 
and  structures.  A  remarkably  efficient  classification  of  subject 
matter  and  a  civilized,  tolerant  division  of  labor  have  de- 

Scientists  generally  agree  that  there  are  definable  levels  of 
energy  and,  what  is  most  important  for  harmonious  collabora- 
tion, agree  on  the  relations  of  the  different  levels  of  energy.  The 
physicist  knows  that  he  studies  a  different  phenomenon  than 
the  behavioral  psychologist.  Electrons  are  different  from  re- 
corded emotions.  Both  the  physicist  and  psychologist  recognize 
that  atomic  processes  are  basic  to  and  underlie  all  physiological 
and  psychological  activities.  A  hierarchy  of  sciences  exists,  based 
not  on  bureaucratic  or  political  factors  but  on  the  nature  of  the 
level  of  energy  studied.  The  physicist  studies  processes  which 
are  billions  of  times  smaller  (and  larger)  than  those  of  the 
psychologist,  processes  which  are  billions  of  times  faster  and 
older  than  human  psychological  processes.  Electrons  were  spun 
off  the  sun  billions  of  years  before  man's  adrenalin  glands  pro- 
pelled him  to  flight. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  48 

Each  Level  of  Energy  Requires  Its  Own  Methods  and 

Among  human  beings  (members  of  a  species  best  known  for  its 
competitive  belligerence  and  murderous  envy) ,  physical  and 
biological  scientists  are  relatively  immune  to  fraternal  homi- 
cide. Biologists  don't  war  against  physicists.  An  American  biolo- 
gist might  war  against  members  of  another  species,  or  another 
nationality  or  religion.  An  American  bacteriologist  might  de- 
velop a  germ  used  to  destroy  Vietnamese  people,  but  he  does 
not  war  against  other  biologists  about  biological  issues.  Indeed, 
American  and  Soviet  scientists  collaborate  even  during  times  of 
political  warfare. 

The  ability  of  scientists  to  communicate,  teach  each  other, 
help  each  other  in  spite  of  racial  and  national  differences  is  due 
to  the  fact  that  they  share  an  effective,  precise  language  system. 

When  Johnson  and  Ho  say,  "Peace,"  they  use  the  word  quite 
differently.  When  Pope  Paul  and  a  Buddhist  monk  say,  "God," 
who  knows  what  they  mean? 

When  a  chemist  writes  a  formula,  all  chemists  know  what  he 
means.  And  all  physicists  know  specifically  or  vaguely  how  the 
chemist's  molecular  formula  relates  to  atomic  processes. 

The  disciplines  of  neurology,  psychology  and  psychiatry, 
however,  have  not  yet  reached  a  scientific  state.  No  satisfactory 
language  system  exists  in  their  fields.  Neurologists  quarrel  with 
psychiatrists  about  the  causes  of  mental  illness.  Psychologists 
cannot  tell  us  how  man  learns  or  forgets.  Enormous  priesthoods 
have  developed  in  these  three  fields  which  jockey  for  power, 
funds,  prestige  but  which  fail  to  provide  answers  or  even  to 
define  problems. 

The  entire  study  of  consciousness,  the  religious  experience 
itself,  remains  in  a  state  of  medieval  ignorance  and  superstition. 
There  is  no  language  for  describing  states  of  awareness.  Reli- 
gious scholars  and  theologians  quarrel,  not  just  about  moral 
fads  and  ritual  paraphernalia  but,  more  basically,  about  the 
answers  to  the  seven  basic  questions. 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  49 

The  humanistic  sciences— neurology,  psychology,  psychiatry, 
psychopharmacology  and  the  study  of  consciousness  (which  I 
call  religion)  —require  a  systematic  language  which  will  allow 
men  to  distinguish  which  levels  of  energy  and  consciousness 
they  deal  with. 

It  is  rather  unfortunate  that  Western  man  developed  a  lan- 
guage of  physics  and  chemistry  and  a  highly  efficient  engineer- 
ing based  on  physical-chemical  experimentation  long  before  he 
developed  understanding  and  control  of  his  own  sense  organs 
and  neurological  conditioning.  Thus  we  now  have  a  situation 
where  blind,  irrational,  technical  robots  (who  understand 
neither  their  makeup  nor  the  purpose  of  life)  are  in  control  of 
powerful  and  dangerous  energies. 

A  conversation  with  Alan  Watts: 

Leary:  Alan,  what  is  the  purpose  of  life? 

Watts:  That  is  the  question! 

Leary:  What  do  you  mean? 

Watts:  The  purpose  of  life  is  to  ask  the  question,  what  is  the 
purpose  of  life?  is  to  ask  the  question,  what  is  the  purpose  of  life? 

The  only  purpose  of  life  is  the  religious  quest,  the  religious 
question.  But  you  must  be  careful  how  you  put  the  question 
because  the  level  at  which  you  ask  is  the  level  at  which  you  will 
be  answered. 

I  have  suggested  seven  levels  of  energy  and  consciousness 
which  are  based  on  the  anatomy  or  structure  of  the  human  body 
and  its  constituent  parts— neurological,  somatic,  cellular,  molec- 
ular. The  religions  of  the  future  must  be  based  on  these  seven 
scientific  questions.  A  science  of  consciousness  must  be  based  on 
those  different  levels  which  center  on  the  body  and  the  bio- 
chemicals  (i.e.,  drugs)  which  alter  consciousness. 

Dramatic  changes  in  our  child-rearing  and  educational  prac- 
tices, politics,  communications  will  occur  as  man  grasps  this 
notion  of  the  levels  of  consciousness  and  their  alteration. 

Table  1  presents  a  highly  simplified  summary  of  the  seven 
levels  of  consciousness  and  their  implications  for  science,  reli- 
gion, art  and  drug  taking. 


The  seven  levels  of  energy  consciousness,  the  drugs  which  induce  them  and  the 
sciences  and  religions  which  study  each  level. 






Level  of 

ligence     Com- 




Com-       munica- 

Drug  to 





munica- tion 







tion        Struc- 




of en- 



Center     ture 








Nucleus  Elec- 








of  atom  tron 








DNA       RNA 

Biology  Peyote 


















3.  Auto-  Organs    Physiol-  MDA  Tantra    Cakras  Bosch      Sensory 

Somatic    nomic  of  body    ogy  Hash-  Kunda-  depriva- 

nerve  ish  lini  tion 


4.  Brain 


Sense       Neurol-  Mari- 
organs     ogy  juana 

Zen,         Satori      Sensory   Incense 

Sufism,  art  Dance 

early  Music 

Chris-  Chant- 

tian-  ing,  etc. 

ity,  Ha- 

5.  Mind       Social      Psychol-  Pep 

Mental-    imprint  behavior  ogy  piUs 

Social        plus 

Judaism  Christ      Repro-    Sermons 
Protes-     Messiah  ductive 
tantism  art 


6.  Endo-      Emo-       Psychia-  Alcohol  Catholi-  Devil       Propa-    Super- 

Emo-         crine       tional      try  cism  ganda      stitious 

tional        centers     behavior  Funda-  ritual 

stupor  mental- 




Nar-       Death 




cotics      cults 






•  While  many  drugs  induce  awareness  at  more  than  one  level  (for  example 
hashish  turns  on  at  levels  4  and  5) ,  only  LSD  can  move  consciousness  to  all 
seven  levels  (often  at  the  same  instant) . 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  51 

Science  as  Ecstatic  Kick 

When  we  read  about  the  current  findings  of  the  energy  sciences 
such  as  those  I  have  just  reviewed,  how  can  our  reaction  be 
other  than  reverent  awe  at  the  grandeur  of  these  observations, 
at  the  staggering  complexity  of  the  design,  the  speed,  the  scope? 
Ecstatic  humility  before  such  power  and  intelligence.  Indeed, 
what  a  small,  secular  concept— intelligence— to  describe  that 
infinitude  of  harmonious  complexityl  How  impoverished  our 
vocabulary  and  how  narrow  our  imagination! 

Of  course,  the  findings  of  the  pure  sciences  do  not  produce 
the  religious  reaction  we  should  expect.  We  are  satiated  with 
secular  statistics,  dazed  into  robot  dullness  by  the  enormity  of 
facts  which  we  are  not  educated  to  comprehend.  Although  the 
findings  of  physics,  genetics,  paleontology  and  neurology  have 
tremendous  relevance  to  our  life,  they  are  of  less  interest  than  a 
fall  in  the  stock  market  or  the  status  of  the  pennant  race. 

The  message  is  dimly  grasped  hypothetically,  rationally,  but 
never  experienced,  felt,  known.  But  there  can  be  that  staggering, 
intellectual-game  ecstasy  which  comes  when  you  begin  to  sense 
the  complexity  of  the  plan.  To  pull  back  the  veil  and  see  for  a 
second  a  fragment  of  the  energy  dance,  the  life  power.  How  can 
you  appreciate  the  divine  unless  you  comprehend  the  smallest 
part  of  the  fantastic  design?  To  experience  (it's  always  for  a 
moment)  the  answers  to  the  seven  basic  spiritual  questions  is  to 
me  the  peak  of  the  religious-scientific  quest. 

But  how  can  our  ill-prepared  nervous  systems  grasp  the 
message?  Certainly  the  average  man  cannot  master  the  con- 
ceptual, mathematical  bead  game  of  the  physics  graduate  stu- 
dent. Must  his  experiential  contact  with  the  divine  process 
come  in  watered-down  symbols,  sermons,  hymns,  robot  rituals, 
religious  calendar  art,  moral-behavior  sanctions  eventually  secu- 
lar in  their  aim?  Fortunately  the  great  plan  has  produced  a 
happy  answer  and  has  endowed  every  human  being  with  the 
equipment  to  comprehend,  to  know,  to  experience  directly,  in- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  52 

controvertibly.  It's  there  in  that  network  of  10  billion  cells,  the 
number  of  whose  interconnections  "is  far  greater  than  all  the 
atoms  in  the  universe." 

If  you  can,  for  the  moment,  throw  off  the  grip  of  your  learned 
mind,  your  conditioning,  and  experience  the  message  con- 
tained in  the  10-billion-tube  computer  which  you  carry  behind 
your  forehead,  you  would  know  the  awe-full  truth.  Our  research 
suggests  that  even  the  uneducated  layman  can  experience  di- 
rectly what  is  slowly  deduced  by  scientists— for  example,  physi- 
cists, whose  heavy,  conceptual  minds  lumber  along  at  three  con- 
cepts a  second,  attempting  to  fathom  the  speed-of-light  processes 
which  their  beautiful  machines  record  and  which  their  beauti- 
ful symbols  portray. 

But  the  brakes  can  be  released.  Our  recent  studies  support 
the  hypothesis  that  psychedelic  foods  and  drugs,  ingested  by 
prepared  subjects  in  a  serious,  sacred,  supportive  atmosphere, 
can  put  the  subject  in  perceptual  touch  with  other  levels  of 
energy  exchanges.  Remember  the  data— the  Good  Friday  study, 
the  Savage  study,  the  200  religious  professionals,  40  to  90  per- 
cent telling  us  they  experienced  "a  greater  awareness  of  God  or 
a  higher  power  or  an  ultimate  reality." 

The  Language  off  Ecstasy 

But  to  what  do  these  LSD  subjects  refer  when  they  report 
spiritual  reactions?  Do  they  obtain  specific  illuminations  into 
the  seven  basic  questions,  or  are  their  responses  simply  awe  and 
wonder  at  the  experienced  novelty?  Even  if  the  latter  were  the 
case,  could  it  not  support  the  religious  application  of  the 
psychedelic  substances  and  simply  underline  the  need  for  more 
sophisticated  religious  language  coordinated  with  the  scientific 
data?  But  there  is  some  evidence,  phenomenological  but  yet 
haunting,  that  the  spiritual  insights  accompanying  the  psyche- 
delic experience  might  be  subjective  accounts  of  the  objective 
findings  of  astronomy,  physics,  biochemistry,  and  neurology. 
Now  the  neurological  and  pharmacological  explanations  of 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  53 

an  LSD  vision  are  still  far  from  being  understood.  We  know 
almost  nothing  about  the  physiology  of  consciousness  and  the 
body-cortex  interaction.  We  cannot  assert  that  LSD  subjects  are 
directly  experiencing  what  particle  physicists  and  biochemists 
measure,  but  the  evidence  about  the  detailed  complexity  of  the 
genetic  code  and  the  astonishing  design  of  intracellular  com- 
munication should  caution  us  against  labeling  experiences  out- 
side of  our  current  tribal  cliches  as  "psychotic"  or  abnormal. 
For  3,000  years  our  greatest  prophets  and  philosophers  have 
been  telling  us  to  look  within,  and  today  our  scientific  data  are 
supporting  that  advice  with  a  humiliating  finality.  The  limits  of 
introspective  awareness  may  well  be  submicroscopic,  cellular, 
molecular  and  even  nuclear.  We  only  see,  after  all,  what  we  are 
trained  and  predisposed  to  see.  One  of  our  current  research 
projects  involves  teaching  subjects  to  recognize  internal  physical 
processes  much  as  we  train  a  beginning  biology  student  to 
recognize  events  viewed  through  his  microscope. 

No  matter  how  parsimonious  our  explanations,  we  must  ac- 
cept the  fact  that  LSD  subjects  do  claim  to  experience  revela- 
tions into  the  basic  questions  and  do  attribute  life  change  to 
their  visions. 

We  are,  of  course,  at  the  very  beginning  of  our  research  into 
these  implications.  A  new  experiential  language  and  perhaps 
even  new  metaphors  for  the  great  plan  will  develop.  We  have 
been  working  on  this  project  for  the  past  six  years,  writing 
manuals  which  train  subjects  to  recognize  energy  processes, 
teaching  subjects  to  communicate  via  a  machine  we  call  the 
experiential  typewriter  and  with  movies  of  microbiological 
processes.  And  we  have  continued  to  pose  the  questions  to  reli- 
gious and  philosophic  groups:  What  do  you  think?  Are  these 
biochemical  visions  religious? 

Before  you  answer,  remember  that  God  (however  you  define 
the  higher  power)  produced  that  wonderful  molecule,  that 
extraordinarily  powerful  organic  substance  we  call  LSD,  just  as 
surely  as  He  created  the  rose,  or  the  sun,  or  the  complex  cluster 
of  molecules  you  insist  on  calling  your  "self." 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  54 

Professional  Priests  and  Theologians  Avoid  the  Religious 

Among  the  many  harassing  complications  of  our  research  into 
religious  experience  has  been  the  fact  that  few  people,  even 
some  theological  professionals,  have  much  conception  of  what  a 
religious  experience  really  is.  Few  have  any  idea  how  the  divine 
process  presents  itself.  If  asked,  they  tend  to  become  embar- 
rassed, intellectual,  evasive.  The  adored  cartoonists  of  the  Re- 
naissance portray  the  ultimate  power  as  a  dove,  or  a  flaming 
bush,  or  as  a  man— venerable,  with  a  white  beard,  or  on  a  cross, 
or  as  a  baby,  or  a  sage  seated  in  the  full  lotus  position.  Are  these 
not  limiting  incarnations,  temporary  housings,  of  the  great 
energy  process? 

In  the  fall  of  1962,  a  minister  and  his  wife,  as  part  of  a  cou- 
rageous and  dedicated  pursuit  of  illumination,  took  a  psyche- 
delic biochemical  called  dimethyltriptamine.  This  wondrous 
alkaloid  (which  closely  approximates  serotonin,  the  natural 
*'lubricant"  of  our  higher  nervous  system)  produces  an  intense 
psychedelic  effect.  In  twenty-five  minutes  (about  the  duration 
of  the  average  sermon)  you  are  whirled  through  the  energy 
dance,  the  cosmic  process,  at  the  highest  psychedelic  speed.  The 
twenty-five  minutes  are  sensed  as  lasting  for  a  second  and  for  a 
billion-year  Kalpa.  After  the  session,  the  minister  complained 
that  the  experience,  although  shattering  and  revelatory,  was 
disappointing  because  it  was  "content-free"— so  physical,  so  un- 
familiar, so  scientific,  like  being  beamed  through  microscopic 
panoramas,  like  being  oscillated  through  cellular  functions  at 
radar  acceleration.  Well,  what  do  you  expect?  If  God  were  to 
take  you  on  a  visit  through  His  "workshop,"  do  you  think  you'd 
walk  or  go  by  bus?  Do  you  really  think  it  would  be  a  stroll 
through  a  celestial  Madame  Tussaud  waxworks?  Dear  friends, 
the  divine  product  is  evident  in  every  macroscopic  form,  in 
every  secular  event.  The  divine  product  we  can  see.  But  the 
divine  process  operates  in  time  dimensions  which  are  far  be- 
yond our  routine,  secular,  space-time  limits.  Wave  vibrations. 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  55 

energy  dance,  cellular  transactions.  Our  science  describes  this 
logically.  Our  brains  may  be  capable  of  dealing  with  these 
processes  experientially. 

So  here  we  are.  The  great  process  has  placed  in  our  hands  a 
key  to  this  direct  visionary  world.  Is  it  hard  for  us  to  accept  that 
the  key  might  be  an  organic  molecule  and  not  a  new  myth  or  a 
new  word? 

The  Politics  of  Revelation 

And  where  do  we  go?  There  are  in  the  United  States  today 
several  million  persons  who  have  experienced  what  I  have  at- 
tempted to  describe— a  psychedelic,  religious  revelation.  There 
are,  I  would  estimate,  several  million  equally  thoughtful  people 
who  have  heard  the  joyous  tidings  and  who  are  waiting  pa- 
tiently but  determinedly  for  the  prohibition  to  end. 

There  is,  of  course,  the  expected  opposition.  The  classic  con- 
flict of  the  religious  drama— always  changing,  always  the  same. 
The  doctrine  (which  was  originally  someone's  experience)  now 
threatened  by  the  new  experience.  This  time  the  administrators 
have  assigned  the  inquisitorial  role  to  the  psychiatrists,  whose 
proprietary  claims  to  a  revealed  understanding  of  the  mind  and 
whose  antagonism  to  consciousness  expansion  are  well  known  to 

The  clamor  over  psychedelic  drugs  is  now  reaching  full 
crescendo.  You  have  heard  rumors  and  you  have  read  the  press 
assaults  and  the  slick-magazine  attacks-by-innuendo.  As  sophisti- 
cated adults,  you  have  perhaps  begun  to  wonder:  why  the  hys- 
terical outcry?  As  scientists,  you  are  beginning  to  ask:  where  is 
the  evidence?  As  educated  men  with  an  eye  for  history,  you  are, 
I  trust,  beginning  to  suspect  that  we've  been  through  this  many 
times  before. 

In  the  current  hassle  over  psychedelic  plants  and  drugs,  you 
are  witnessing  a  good,  old-fashioned,  traditional,  religious  con- 
troversy. On  the  one  side  the  psychedelic  visionaries,  somewhat 
uncertain  about  the  validity  of  their  revelations,  embarrassedly 
speaking  in  new  tongues  (there  never  is,  you  know,  the  satisfac- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  56 

tion  of  a  sound,  right  academic  language  for  the  new  vision  of 
the  divine) ,  harassed  by  the  knowledge  of  their  own  human 
frailty,  surrounded  by  the  inevitable  legion  of  eccentric  would- 
be  followers  looking  for  a  new  panacea,  always  in  grave  doubt 
about  their  own  motivation— hero?  martyr?  crank?  crackpot?— 
always  on  the  verge  of  losing  their  material  achievements— job, 
reputation,  long-suffering  wife,  conventional  friends,  parental 
approval— always  under  the  fire  of  the  power  holders.  And  on 
the  other  side  the  establishment  (the  administrators,  the  police, 
the  fund-granting  foundations,  the  job  givers)  pronouncing 
their  familiar  lines  in  the  drama:  "Danger!  Madness!  Unsound! 
Intellectual  corruption  of  youth!  Irreparable  damage!  Cult- 
ism!"  The  issue  of  chemical  expansion  of  consciousness  is  hard 
upon  us.  During  the  last  few  years,  every  avenue  of  propaganda 
has  barraged  you  with  the  arguments.  You  can  hardly  escape  it. 
You  are  going  to  be  pressed  for  a  position.  Internal  freedom  is 
becoming  a  major  religious  and  civil  rights  controversy. 

How  can  you  decide?  How  can  you  judge?  Well,  it's  really 
quite  simple.  Whenever  you  hear  anyone  sounding  off  on  in- 
ternal freedom  and  consciousness-expanding  foods  and  drugs— 
whether  pro  or  con— check  out  these  questions: 

1.  Is  your  expert  talking  from  direct  experience,  or  simply 
repeating  cliches?  Theologians  and  intellectuals  often  deprecate 
"experience"  in  favor  of  fact  and  concept.  This  classic  debate  is 
falsely  labeled.  Most  often  it  becomes  a  case  of  "experience" 
versus  "inexperience." 

2.  Do  his  words  spring  from  a  spiritual  or  from  a  mundane 
point  of  view?  Is  he  motivated  by  a  dedicated  quest  for  answers 
to  basic  questions,  or  is  he  protecting  his  own  social-psychologi- 
cal position,  his  own  game  investment?  Is  he  struggling  toward 
sainthood,  or  is  he  maintaining  his  status  as  a  hard-boiled 
scientist  or  hard-boiled  cop? 

3.  How  would  his  argument  sound  if  it  were  heard  in  a 
different  culture  (for  example,  in  an  African  jungle  hut,  a  ghat 
on  the  Ganges,  or  on  another  planet  inhabited  by  a  form  of  life 
superior  to  ours)  or  in  a  different  time  (for  example,  in  Peri- 
clean  Athens,  or  in  a  Tibetan  monastery,  or  in  a  bull  session  led 

The  Seven  Tongues  of  God  [  57 

by  any  one  of  the  great  religious  leaders— founders— messiahs)  ? 
Or  how  would  it  sound  to  other  species  of  life  on  our  planet 
today— to  the  dolphins,  to  the  consciousness  of  a  redwood  tree? 
In  other  words,  try  to  break  out  of  your  usual  tribal  game  set 
and  listen  with  the  ears  of  another  one  of  God's  creatures. 

4.  How  would  the  debate  sound  to  you  if  you  were  fatally 
diseased  with  a  week  to  live,  and  thus  less  committed  to  mun- 
dane issues?  Our  research  group  receives  many  requests  a  week 
for  consciousness-expanding  experiences,  and  some  of  these 
come  from  terminal  patients. ^^ 

5.  Is  the  point  of  view  one  which  opens  up  or  closes  down? 
Are  you  being  urged  to  explore,  experience,  gamble  out  of 
spiritual  faith,  join  someone  who  shares  your  cosmic  ignorance 
on  a  collaborative  voyage  of  discovery?  Or  are  you  being  pres- 
sured to  close  off,  protect  your  gains,  play  it  safe,  accept  the 
authoritative  voice  of  someone  who  knows  best? 

6.  When  we  speak,  we  say  little  about  the  subject  matter  and 
disclose  mainly  the  state  of  our  own  mind.  Does  your  psyche- 
delic expert  use  terms  which  are  positive,  pro-life,  spiritual,  in- 
spiring, opening,  based  on  faith  in  the  future,  faith  in  your 
potential,  or  does  he  betray  a  mind  obsessed  by  danger,  material 
concern,  by  imaginary  terrors,  administrative  caution  or  essen- 
tial distrust  in  your  potential?  Dear  friends,  there  is  nothing  in 
life  to  fear;  no  spiritual  game  can  be  lost. 

7.  If  he  is  against  what  he  calls  "artificial  methods  of  illumi- 
nation," ask  him  what  constitutes  the  natural.  Words?  Rituals? 
Tribal  customs?  Alkaloids?  Psychedelic  vegetables? 

8.  If  he  is  against  biochemical  assistance,  where  does  he  draw 
the  line?  Does  he  use  nicotine?  alcohol?  penicillin?  vitamins? 
conventional  sacramental  substances? 

9.  If  your  advisor  is  against  LSD,  what  is  he  for?  If  he  forbids 
you  the  psychedelic  key  to  revelation,  what  does  he  offer  you 


1  Walter  N.  Pahnke,  Drugs  and  Mysticism:  An  Analysis  of  the  Relation- 
ship between  Psychedelic  Drugs  and  the  Mystical  Consciousness.  A  thesis 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  58 

presented  to  the  Committee  on  Higher  Degrees  in  History  and  Philosophy 
of  Religion,  in  partial  fulfillment  of  the  requirements  for  the  degree  of 
doctor  of  philosophy.  Harvard  University,  Cambridge,  Massachusetts, 
June  1963. 

2  "The  Subjective  After-Effects  of  Psychedelic  Experiences:  A  Summary 
of  Four  Recent  Questionnaire  Studies,"  Psychedelic  Review,  Vol.  I,  No.  I 

(June  1963),  pp.  18-26. 

ST.  Leary,  G.  H.  Litwin,  and  R.  Metzner,  "Reactions  to  Psilocybin  Ad- 
ministered in  a  Supportive  Environment,"  Journal  of  Nervous  and  Mental 
Disease,  Vol.  137,  No.  6  (December  1963) ,  pp.  561-73. 

4  C.  Savage,  W.  W.  Harman,  and  J.  Fadiman,  "A  Follow-up  Note  on  the 
Psychedelic  Experience."  Paper  delivered  at  a  meeting  of  the  American 
Psychiatric  Association.  St.  Louis,  Missouri,  May  1963. 

5K.  S.  Ditman,  M.  Haymon,  and  J.  R.  S.  Whittlesey,  "Nature  and  Fre- 
quency of  Claims  Following  LSD,"  Journal  of  Nervous  and  Mental  Dis- 
ease, Vol.  134  (1962) ,  pp.  346-52. 

6  W.  H.  McGlothlin,  Long-Lasting  Effects  of  LSD  on  Certain  Attitudes  in 
Normals:  An  Experimental  Proposal.  Privately  printed.  The  Rand  Cor- 
poration, Santa  Monica,  California,  June  1962,  p.  56.  Cf.  W.  H.  McGloth- 
lin, S.  Cohen,  and  M.  S.  McGlothlin,  Short-Term  Effects  of  LSD  on 
Anxiety,  Attitudes,  and  Performance.  Ibid.,  June  1963,  p.  15. 
"^  A  continuing  present-day  instance  is  the  case  of  members  of  the  Native 
American  Church,  a  duly  constituted  and  recognized  religious  denomina- 
tion numbering  almost  a  quarter  of  a  million  adherents.  A  good  popular 
account  of  their  situation  is  presented  in  "Peyote,"  by  A.  Stump,  in  Saga, 
Vol.  26,  No..  3  (June  1963) ,  pp.  46-49,  81-83.  Cf.  the  Supreme  Court's 
decision,  Oliver  v.  Udall,  306  F2d  819  (1962) .  The  most  recently  proposed 
legislation  against  peyote  is  seen  in  the  Congressional  Record  (House)  for 
December  13,  1963.  W.  La  Barre's  famous  book,  The  Peyote  Cult,  was 
reprinted  in  an  enlarged  edition  in  August  1964  by  the  Shoe  String  Press 

(Hamden,  Connecticut)  and  brings  the  entire  discussion  up  to  date.  For 
a  good  general  statement  in  another  area  of  research,  see  "The  Hallucino- 
genic Drugs,"  by  Barron,  Jarvik,  and  Bunnell,  Scientific  American,  Vol. 
210,  No.  4  (April  1964) ,  pp.  29-37. 

8R.  C.  Zaehner,  At  Sundry  Times,  London:  Faber  &  Faber,  1958,  p.  57. 
An  essay  in  the  comparison  of  religions. 

®  H.  Woltereck,  What  Science  Knows  About  Life,  New  York:  Association 
Press,  1963. 

10  G.  Schenk,  The  History  of  Man,  New  York:  Chilton,  1961,  pp.  56-57. 

11  Ibid.,  p.  238. 

12  R.  Campbell,  "The  Circuits  of  the  Senses,"  in  a  series  on  "The  Human 
Body"  (Part  IV) ,  Life,  Vol.  54,  No.  27  (June  27,  1963) ,  pp.  64-76b. 

13  The  medical  press  has  recently  reported  on  the  analgesic  use  of  LSD 
with  terminal  cancer  patients.  Cf.  Medical  World  Neios  (August  30,  1963) , 
Medical  Tribune  (April  8,  1963) ,  and  Journal  of  the  American  Medical 
Association  (January  4,  1964) . 


What  to  Do  When  the  Vietcong  Drop 
LSD  in  Our  Water  Supply* 

Psychiatric  Panic 

An  article  by  Dr.  E.  James  Lieberman  entitled  'Tsycho-Chemi- 
cals  as  Weapons,"  published  in  the  January  1962  Bulletin  of 
Atomic  Science  J  could  lead  to  serious  confusion  in  the  minds  of 
a  credulous  public  and  a  credulous  military.  The  author  seems 
to  be  moved  by  admirable  democratic  sentiments,  but  he  has 
mixed  together  an  astonishing  combination  of  psychiatric  folk- 
lore and  chemical  warfare  fantasy.  The  results  are  misleading. 

The  so-called  psychotropic  weapons  deplored  in  this  article 
are  lysergic  acid  diethylamide  (LSD) ,  mescaline  (the  synthetic 
of  the  "divine  peyote  cactus") ,  and  psilocybin  (the  synthetic  of 
the  sacred  mushroom  of  Mexico) .  The  author,  a  psychiatrist, 
warns  that  "catastrophic  damage  that  would  be  neither  re- 
versible nor  humane"  might  follow  the  ingestion  of  these  drugs. 

Dr.  Lieberman  has  presented  one  of  the  many  sharply  di- 
vergent viewpoints  about  the  interpretation  and  application  of 
these  drugs.  Many  psychiatrists  believe  that  LSD,  mescaline  and 
psilocybin  produce  psychiatric  symptoms— anxiety,  depression, 
detachment,  confusion,  suspicion,  psychosis.  Many  other  inves- 
tigators have  come  to  the  conclusion  that  these  symptoms  exist 

*  This  article  was  written  with  the  help  of  George  Litwin,  Michael  Hollings- 
heacl,  Gunther  Weil  and  Richard  Alpert.  and  was  first  published  in  the  Bulletin 
of  Atomic  Science,  May  1962. 

[  59 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  60 

mainly  in  the  mind  and  eye  of  the  psychiatrist  and  that  con- 
sciousness-expanding chemicals,  far  from  being  dangerous 
weapons,  may  produce  dramatic  changes  in  personality  leading 
to  unprecedented  peace,  sanity  and  happiness. 

Perhaps  it  depends  on  what  you  are  trained  to  look  for.  Most 
psychiatrists  who  have  experimented  with  such  consciousness- 
affecting  drugs  report  danger.  Most  nonpsychiatrists  see  these 
drugs  as  great  benefactors  of  mankind.  Included  in  the  latter 
group  are  Albert  Hoffman,  the  brilliant  biochemist  who  first 
synthesized  LSD  and  psilocybin;  Alan  Watts,  author  and  phi- 
losopher; Robert  S.  de  Ropp,  biochemist;  Aldous  Huxley,  nov- 
elist and  philosopher;  and  the  great  American  psychologist  and 
philosopher  William  James.  Also  included  among  those  who 
hail  the  humanistic  promise  of  consciousness-expanding  drugs 
are  a  few  psychiatrists  who  have  seen  beyond  psychopathology 
to  the  adaptive  potential  of  the  human  brain. 

What  Are  Psychedelic  Drugs? 

So  much  for  the  controversial.  Research  and  not  words  will 
resolve  these  issues.  But  let  us  look  next  at  the  secure  knowledge 
which  exists  concerning  mescaline,  LSD,  and  psilocybin.  What 
are  these  substances?  Sacramental  foods?  Devilish  weapons? 
Wonder  medicines?  It  is  easier  to  say  what  they  are  not.  They  are 
not  addictive,  nor  sedative,  nor  intoxicating.  There  is  no  evi- 
dence for  any  lasting  and  very  few  transient  physical  effects. 
Everyone  agrees  on  one  factor— they  dramatically  alter  con- 
sciousness and  expand  awareness. 

There  is  a  second  generally  shared  conclusion.  Set  and  sug- 
gestibility, expectation  and  emotional  atmosphere  account  for 
almost  all  of  the  specificity  of  reaction.  If  the  drug  giver  is 
supportive,  open,  relaxed,  then  the  results  will  usually  be  posi- 
tive, educational,  dramatically  insightful.  If,  on  the  other  hand, 
the  drug  giver  is  secretive,  depersonalized,  himself  fearful  of  the 
drug,  then  the  reactions  will  probably  be  anxious  and  un- 

What  to  Do  When  the  Vietcong  Drop  LSD  [  61 

As  members  of  a  research  project  studying  the  effects  and 
application  of  consciousness-expanding  drugs,  we  have  had  the 
opportunity  of  observing  the  behavioral  and  phenomenological 
reactions  of  thousands  of  subjects.  A  glance  at  some  of  our  re- 
sults suggests  that  the  military  applications  of  consciousness- 
expanding  drugs  may  be  limited.  To  date,  91  percent  of  the 
Americans  who  have  participated  in  our  research  report  pleas- 
ant, inspirational  experiences.  Even  with  no  attempt  to  be 
therapeutic  and  with  only  one  ingestion,  over  60  percent  of  our 
subjects  report  subsequent  life  changes  for  the  better. 

During  1962-63  we  used  these  drugs  for  rehabilitation  pur- 
poses in  a  maximum-security  prison.  During  more  than  100 
individual  ingestions  by  hardened  criminals,  we  witnessed  dra- 
matic insight  and  behavior-change  reactions. 

Beware  Fear  and  Ignorance 

Like  any  product  of  our  advanced  technology,  the  consciousness- 
expanding  drugs  can  be  used  to  manipulate,  dominate,  frighten 
or  benefit  mankind.  A  hypodermic  syringe  of  LSD  or  Salk  vac- 
cine in  the  hands  of  an  enemy  can  become  a  frightening 
weapon.  However,  the  greatest  enemies  of  mankind  are  igno- 
rance and  fear.  In  the  hands  of  the  unfriendly,  these  weapons  can 
paralyze  and  destroy. 

What  are  the  protections?  Accurate  information  openly 
shared  and  calm,  courageous  response  to  the  evidence.  Psychi- 
atrists and  physicians  on  whom  Dr.  Lieberman  calls  for  rescue 
from  danger,  perhaps  imaginary,  can  help  to  the  extent  they  are 
collaborative,  open,  fearless  with  their  fellow  men.  If  the  Ameri- 
can people  are  frightened  by  psychopathological  obsessions  and 
psychiatric  superstitions  and  ill-kept  chemical  warfare  secrets, 
they  can  be  hurt.  We  are  least  vulnerable  and  strongest  when 
we  are  well-informed.  Facts  are  the  defense  against  any  weapon, 
and  particularly  the  psychological  weapons  of  fear  and  help- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  62 

Be  Prepared 

The  facts  about  consciousness-expanding  substances  are  not  all 
in  yet,  but  some  things  are  clear.  Physiologically  these  sub- 
stances act  mainly  on  the  brain  stem,  disinhibiting  certain  regu- 
lating, selecting,  screening  and  controlling  mechanisms  that 
constantly  guide  our  perception  and  thinking.  The  higher,  con- 
scious centers  are  free  temporarily  from  these  artificial  restric- 
tions. Behaviorally  the  main  effect  of  these  substances  is  relaxa- 
tion. Most  of  our  subjects  are  very  happy  just  to  sit  and  enjoy 
the  world.  There  is  much  less  talking,  much  less  superficial 
movement  or  conversation.  Let  us  be  clear;  almost  all  of  our 
subjects  could  function  very  adequately  if  called  on.  They 
choose  to  relax.  Psychologically  these  amazing  substances  ex- 
pand your  awareness,  open  your  mind.  The  kaleidoscopic  and 
complex  world  that  has  always  been  there,  the  powerful  sensa- 
tions from  every  part  of  your  body  and  the  unusual  connections 
of  thoughts  and  feelings  that  are  normally  ignored  come  dra- 
matically into  consciousness. 

Of  course  these  experiences  can  be  frightening.  If  you  are  not 
prepared,  if  you  do  not  know  what  is  happening  to  you  and 
your  brain,  if  you  are  struggling  to  maintain  complete  verbal 
control  over  your  senses  and  your  awareness,  you  will  certainly 
be  frightened.  But  if  you  are  prepared,  if  you  know  what  kind 
of  a  chemical  you  have  taken  and  what  to  expect  (which  most 
subjects  participating  in  psychiatric  research  with  these  sub- 
stances do  not) ,  if  you  do  relax,  then  the  experience  can  be 
wonderful,  enlightening,  and  life-changing.  If  an  enemy  drops 
LSD  in  the  water  supply  and  if  you  are  accurately  informed  and 
prepared,  then  you  have  two  choices.  If  you  have  the  time  and 
inclination,  you  should  sit  back  and  enjoy  the  most  exciting 
educational  experience  of  your  life  (you  might  be  forever  grate- 
ful to  the  saboteur) .  If  you  don't  have  the  time  or  inclination 
for  this  pleasant  and  insightful  experience,  then  swallow  a  tran- 
quilizer, and  you'll  be  back  to  the  prosaic  reality.  Tomorrow 

What  to  Do  When  the  Vietcong  Drop  LSD  [  63 

the  drugs  and  the  counterdrugs  may  be  different,  but  the  pre- 
scription is  the  same. 

Turn  On  the  Pentagon 

If  an  enemy  introduced  a  consciousness-expanding  drug  into  a 
military  command  center,  our  leaders— if  they  are  accurately 
informed  and  experienced  about  the  potentials  of  expanded 
awareness— might  find  that  men  in  certain  key  positions  could 
function  better.  In  fact,  we  must  assume  that  these  substances 
are  now  being  used  by  our  space  agency  for  the  preparation  of 
astronauts,  who  will  certainly  undergo  altered  states  of  con- 
sciousness in  space  exploration. 

Your  brain  is  your  own.  Intelligent,  open  collaboration  can 
expand  your  mind— with  words  and  with  drugs.  Only  ignorance 
and  misinformation  can  allow  someone  else  to  control  it— with 
their  own  words  or  with  their  drugs  or  with  their  imaginary 



The  Fifth  Freedom — 

The  Right  to  Get  High* 

Expansion  and  Contraction  Is  tiie  Rhythm  of  the  Universe 

The  tension  between  the  flowing  process  and  the  fixed  struc- 
ture. Let  go!  Pull  back!  Let  go!  Pull  back! 

Inorganic  processes:  The  expanding  gaseous  cloud  whirls  into 
temporary  patterned  structures.  The  structures  always  chang- 
ing, hurtling  toward  eventual  entropy.  Let  go.  Pull  back. 

Organic  processes:  Watery,  electro-biochemical  globules  clus- 
ter into  cells.  Cells  cluster  into  temporary  hardened  forms 
(vegetative  or  animal) ,  themselves  always  changing,  eventually 
returning  to  the  entropic.  Let  go.  Pull  back. 

Social  processes:  The  free,  expansive  vision  is  molded  into  the 
institutional.  Hardly  has  the  institutional  mortar  set  before 
there  is  a  new  cortical  upheaval,  an  explosive,  often  ecstatic  or 
prophetic  revelation.  The  prophet  is  promptly  jailed.  A  hun- 
dred years  later  his  followers  are  jailing  the  next  visionary. 

The  Ancient  Game:  Visionary  vs.  Cop 

One  is  led  naively  to  exclaim:  Will  man  never  learn  the  lesson 
of  cyclical  process?  Must  we  continue  to  jail,  execute,  exile  our 
ecstatic  visionaries  and  then  enshrine  them  as  tomorrow's  heroes? 

•  Written  with  the  hcl|)  of  my  friend  Richard  Alpert  and  first  published  in  the 
Harvard  Review,  Vol.  I,  No.  4,  Summer  1963. 


The  Harvard  Review 

Summer  1963,  Vol.  I,  No.  4 


7     The  Mushroom  Rites  of  Mexico R.  Gordon  Wasson 

18    Hallucinogenic  Plants  of  the  New 

World  Richard  Evans  Schultes 

33     The  Politics  of  Consciousness  Timothy  Leary 

Expansion Richard  Alpert 

38  'Up'  on  Psilocybin Richard  Jones 

44  An  Artist's  View Arthur  Hoener 

51  Mushrooms  and  Mystics :  A  Caveat David  F.  Ricks 

56  Narcotics  in  the  U.  S.:  A  Brief  History  . .  Norman  E.  Zinberg 

63  Reflections  of  a  Peyote  Eater Chase  Mellen  III 

68  BOOKS 

The  Naked  Lunch David  Swanson 

The  Drug  Experience S.  Clark  Woodroe 


The  Harvard  Review  is  published  quarterly  during  the  academic  yearj 
single  copies  75  cents,  subscriptions,  $2  in  Cambridge,  $3  elsewhere.  The  views 
expressed  in  the  articles  that  follow  are  those  of  the  authors,  and  not  necessarily 
those  of  the  Review  staff  or  its  sponsors.  Copyrighted  1963  by  Andrew  T. 

"The  Politics  of  Consciousness  E^ansion'*  (reprinted 
here  as  "The  Fifth  Freedom— the  Right  to  Get  High")  fiist 
appeared  in  The   Harvard  Review  ( 1 963). 

Xlie  Politics 
and  Etliic:9  of 

Uy  TimotliT  M.emwy  Pli.IB. 

The  unsupervised,  indiscrimi- 
nate use  of  psychedelic  drugs 
for  kicks  is  dangerous.  Dis- 
ciplined, scientific  efforts  to 
study  them  hold  vast  promise. 
Many  disagree  with  Timothy 
Leary,  but  his  opinions  grow 
out  of  one  of  the  most  exten- 
sive explorations  ever  made 
into  the  world  of  expanded 
consciousness.  From  this 
background  he  reports  what 
these  drugs  do  and  predicts 
what  their  impact  will  be  on 
our  laws  and  morals. 

In  the  past,  men  fought  over  symbols— 
the  cross  or  the  crescent,  or  which  version 
of  the  Bible  you  used.  Issues  such  as  these 
led  to  imprisonment,  and  even  to  death. 

Today,  in  the  molecular  age,  the  issue  . 
i<;  not  what  books  you  read,  or  which 
s\mbols  you  use,  but  which  chemicals 
.ire  part  of  your  life  and  your  growth. 

Life  magazine  recently  told  us  that 
there  are  a  million  doses  of  LSD  being- 
used  this  year  in  the  United  Sutes.  It  is 
estimated  that  between  three  and  ten 
million  Americans  have  used  other  psy- 
i  liedelic  subsunces,  such  as  marijuana, 
1  evote,  mescaline.  But  then  there  are 
the  followers  of  other  chemical  yogas. 
Think  of  the  millions— the  many  million^ 
-oi  .\mericans  who  rely  upon  tranqufl-, 
i.ers  to  guide  them  through  the  perilous 
journey  of  each  day  of  life.  Think  of  the 
millions  and  millions  of  Americans  who 
use  energizers  and  pep  pills.  Think  of 
the  close  to  one  hundred  million  Ameri-- 
i.iiis  who  use  our  favorite  psycho-chemi-  alcohol,  and  those  who  are  addicted 
to  nicotine.  Think,  too,  of  that  small 
h;indful  of  perhaps  one  hundred  thou- 
Miid  people  who  escape  from  the  turmoil 
nd  pain  of  life  with  the  opiates— the 
i-troin  addicu. 

As  we  move  into  thfe  psycho-chemical 
age  of  man,  we  have  to  recognize  at  the  _- 
outset  that  things  are  out  of  control.  Life 
refers  to  "The  exploding  threat  of  thf 
mind  drug  that  got  out  of  control."  And 
they  are  right! 

None  of  us  know  what  we  are  doiag— 
with  the  chemicals  that  we  put  in  our 
lx-)dy  to  change  our  consciousness:  to  con-  \ 
tract  our  consciousness;  to  expand  ourf 
awareness;  to  move  us  faster  or  slbww^ 
through  the  sequences  of  behavior  wfak^ 
we  follow  every  day.  ' 

There  is  much  talk  abqwt  danger.  Tlib  5 

at  Town  H«H.N««  York  CMy 

c*MMuttta4»  m 

"The  Politics  and  Ethics  of  Ecstasy"  speech  at  New 
York's  Town  Hall  was  published  in  Cavalier  {My  1966). 

The  Fifth  Freedom—The  Right  to  Get  High  [  65 

Naive  questions,  which  fail  to  appreciate  the  necessary  ten- 
sion of  the  expansion-contraction  play.  Membrane  contracts. 
Life  force  bursts  membrane.  Establishment  controls  vision.  Vi- 
sion bursts  establishment.  Let  go.  Pull  back. 

The  expansion  process  in  physics  and  biology  is  described  in 
evolutionary  terms.  Let  go. 

The  expansion  process  in  human  affairs  is  defined  in  terms  of 
the  word  "freedom."  Let  go. 

We  measure  social  evolution  in  terms  of  increased  freedom- 
external  or  internal.  Freedom  to  step  out  of  the  tribal  game  and 
move  to  construct  a  new  social  form.  Freedom  to  move  in  space. 
Freedom  to  experience.  Freedom  to  explore.  Freedom  to  get 
high.  Freedom  to  let  go. 

The  Hippy  vs.  Square  Quarrel  Is  a  Bore 

Society  needs  conscientious,  dogmatic  priest-scholars  to  provide 
structure— the  intellectual  muscle,  bone  and  skin  to  keep  things 
together.  The  university  is  the  establishment's  apparatus  for 
training  consciousness  contractors.  The  intellectual  ministry  of 
defense.  Defense  against  vision.  This  statement  is  not  pejorative 
but  a  fact  about  evolutionary  function.  We  need  stability.  But 
we  need  expansion,  too.  We  need  the  far-out  visionary  as  well  as 
the  up-tight  academic  council  which  sits  in  learned  judgment 
on  Socrates,  Galileo,  Bacon,  Columbus,  Thoreau.  The  protago- 
nists in  these  dramas  are  neither  good  nor  evil.  No  villains,  no 
heroes.  They  just  are.  What  will  be  the  next  step  in  biological 
and  social  evolution?  Here  are  two  clues.  (1)  You  are  more 
likely  to  find  the  evolutionary  agents  closer  to  jail  than  to  the 
professor's  chair.  (2)  Look  to  that  social  freedom  most  abused, 
most  magically,  irrationally  feared  by  society.  Exactly  that  free- 
dom which  you,  the  intellectual,  the  liberal,  would  deny  to 
others.  Good.  Now  you  are  getting  close. 

The  administration  always  recognizes  intuitively  the  next 
evolutionary  step  that  will  leave  it  behind.  To  cast  this  drama 
in  terms  of  saints  and  Pharisees  is  entertaining,  but  outmoded- 

The  drama  is  genetic.  Neurophysiological. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  66 

So  spare  us,  please,  the  adolescent  heroics  of  Beethoven  and 

The  Next  Lunge  Forward 

Where,  then,  will  the  next  evolutionary  step  occur?  Within  the 
human  cortex.  We  know,  yes  we  know,  that  science  has  pro- 
duced methods  for  dramatically  altering  and  expanding  human 
awareness  and  potentialities.  The  uncharted  realm  lies  behind 
your  own  forehead.  Internal  geography.  Internal  politics.  In- 
ternal control.  Internal  freedom. 

The  nervous  system  can  be  changed,  integrated,  recircuited, 
expanded  in  its  function.  These  possibilities  naturally  threaten 
every  branch  of  the  establishment.  The  dangers  of  external 
change  appear  to  frighten  us  less  than  the  peril  of  internal 
change.  LSD  is  more  frightening  than  the  bomb! 

We  are,  in  a  real  sense,  prisoners  of  the  cognitive  concepts 
and  intellectual  strategies  which  are  passed  on  from  generation 
to  generation.  The  cognitive  continuity  of  history.  And  the  stuff 
of  it  is  words.  Our  current  reliance  upon  substantive  and  "clos- 
ing-off"  concepts  will  be  the  amused  wonder  of  coming  genera- 
tions. We  must  entertain  nonverbal  methods  of  communication 
if  we  are  to  free  our  nervous  system  from  the  tyranny  of  the 
stifling  simplicity  of  words. 

Cortical  Vitamins 

Biochemical  methods  of  increasing  cortical  efficiency.  Biochemi- 
cals  in  the  human  body,  in  plants,  and  in  drugs.  There  exist  in 
nature  hundreds  of  botanical  species  with  psychedelic  ("mind- 
opening")  powers.  There  exists  around  the  indole  circle  a  wide 
variety  of  psychedelic  compounds.  Cortical  vitamins. 

The  existence  of  these  substances  has  been  known  for  thou- 
sands of  years  but  has  been  maintained  as  a  well-guarded  secret. 
The  scarcity  of  botanical  supply.  Today  the  mind-opening  sub- 
stances (e.g.,  mescaline,  LSD,  psilocybin)  are  available  for  the 

The  Fifth  Freedom— The  Right  to  Get  High  [  67 

first  time  in  limitless,  mass-produced  quantities.  What  a  threat! 
What  a  challenge  I  What  a  widespread  menace! 

The  danger,  of  course,  is  not  physical.  As  of  1968  there  was 
no  evidence  that  LSD  causes  pathological  changes  in  the  brain, 
the  body,  or  the  genetic  material.  The  anti-LSD  warnings  of 
American  scientists  are  out-and-out  hoax.  Government  science, 
like  Hitler's  race  experiments  and  Soviet  genetics. 

Turn  On  or  Bail  Out 

The  danger  of  LSD  is  not  physical  or  psychological,  but  social- 
political.  Make  no  mistake:  the  eflFect  of  consciousness-expand- 
ing drugs  will  be  to  transform  our  concepts  of  human  nature, 
human  potentialities,  existence.  The  game  is  about  to  be 
changed,  ladies  and  gentlemen.  Man  is  about  to  make  use  of 
that  fabulous  electrical  network  he  carries  around  in  his  skull. 
Present  social  establishments  had  better  be  prepared  for  the 
change.  Our  favorite  concepts  are  standing  in  the  way  of  a  flood 
tide  2  billion  years  building  up.  The  verbal  dam  is  collapsing. 
Head  for  the  hills,  or  prepare  your  intellectual  craft  to  flow 
with  the  current. 

The  Visionary  Automobile 

Let's  try  a  metaphor.  The  social  situation  in  respect  to  psyche- 
delic drugs  is  very  similar  to  that  faced  60  years  ago  by  those 
crackpot  visionaries  who  were  playing  around  with  the  horseless 
carriage.  Of  course  the  automobile  is  external  child's  play  com- 
pared to  the  unleashing  of  cortical  energy,  but  the  social  di- 
lemma is  similar. 

The  claim  was  made  in  1900  that  the  motor  carriage,  accel- 
erated to  speeds  several  times  that  of  the  horse-drawn  vehicle, 
would  revolutionize  society.  Impossible  to  conceptualize  be- 
cause in  1900  we  possessed  no  concepts  for  these  possibilities. 
First  of  all,  we  object  to  the  dangers:  high  speeds  will  snap 
nervous  minds,  gas  fumes  are  fatal,  the  noise  will  prevent  cows 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  68 

from  giving  milk,  horses  will  run  away,  criminals  will  exploit 
the  automobile. 

Then  the  puritanical  objection:  people  will  use  cars  for 
pleasure,  for  kicks. 

Then  we  question  the  utility:  what  can  we  do  with  speedy 
carriages?  There  are  no  men  to  repair  them.  There  are  no  roads, 
few  bridges.  There  are  no  skilled  operators.  The  supply  of  fuel 
is  small.  Who  will  sell  you  gas? 

Then  we  raise  the  problem  of  control:  who  should  be  allowed 
to  own  and  operate  these  powerful  and  dangerous  instruments? 
Perhaps  they  should  be  restricted  to  the  government  elite,  to 
the  military,  to  the  medical  profession. 

But  why  do  we  want  cars,  anyway?  What  is  wrong  with  the 
good  old  buggy?  What  will  happen  to  coachmen,  blacksmiths, 
carriage  makers? 

The  automotive  visionary  of  1900  could  have  pointed  out 
that  his  skeptical  opponent  had  no  concepts,  no  social  structures 
to  implement  these  possibilities.  Remember,  if  one  talks  about 
experiences  and  prospects  for  which  the  listener  has  no  con- 
cepts, then  he  is  defined  (at  best)  as  a  mystic.  Our  automotive 
mystic  sixty  years  ago  would  have  asserted  the  need  for  a  new 
language,  new  social  forms,  and  would  have  predicted  that  our 
largest  national  industry  would  inevitably  develop  out  of  this 

Can  you  imagine  a  language  without  such  words  as  converti- 
ble, tudor  sedan.  General  Motors,  U.A.W.,  Standard  Oil,  super- 
highway, parking  ticket,  traffic  court?  These  most  commonplace 
terms  in  our  present  culture  were  mystical  images  three  genera- 
tions ago. 

Who  Controls  the  Instruments  of  Freedom? 

In  totalitarian  states  the  use  and  control  of  instruments  for 
external  freedom— the  automobile,  the  private  airplane— are 
reserved  for  the  government  bureaucracy  and  the  professional 
elite.  Even  in  democracies  the  traditional  means  for  expanding 
or  contracting  consciousness    (internal  freedom) ,  such  as  the 

The  Fifth  Freedom— The  Right  to  Get  High  [  69 

printing  press,  radio  transmitter,  motion  picture,  are  restricted 
by  law  and  remain  under  government  control. 

Now  consider  psychedelic  drugs.  No  language  to  describe  the 
experience.  No  trained  operators  to  guide  the  trip.  Lots  of 
blacksmiths  whose  monopoly  is  threatened.  A  few  people  who 
do  see  an  inevitable  development  of  a  new  language,  a  trans- 
figuration of  every  one  of  our  social  forms.  And  these  few,  of 
course,  the  ones  who  have  taken  the  internal  voyage. 

It  is  possible  that  in  20  years  our  psychological  and  expe- 
riential language  (pitifully  small  in  English)  will  have  mul- 
tiplied to  cover  realms  of  experience  and  forms  of  thinking  now 
unknown.  In  20  years  every  social  institution  will  have  been 
transformed  by  the  new  insights  provided  by  consciousness-ex- 
panding experiences.  Many  new  social  institutions  will  have 
developed  to  handle  the  expressions  of  the  potentiated  nervous 

The  Fifth  Freedom 

The  political  issue  involves  control:  "automobile"  means  that 
the  free  citizen  moves  his  own  car  in  external  space.  Internal 
automobile.  Auto-administration.  The  freedom  and  control  of 
one's  experiential  machinery.  Licensing  will  be  necessary.  You 
must  be  trained  to  operate.  You  must  demonstrate  your  pro- 
ficiency to  handle  consciousness-expanding  drugs  without  dan- 
ger to  yourself  or  the  public.  The  fifth  freedom— the  freedom  to 
expand  your  own  consciousness— cannot  be  denied  without  due 

A  final  hint  to  those  who  have  ears  to  hear.  The  open  cortex 
produces  an  ecstatic  state.  The  nervous  system  operating  free  of 
learned  abstraction  is  a  completely  adequate,  completely  effi- 
cient, ecstatic  organ.  To  deny  this  is  to  rank  man's  learned  con- 
cepts above  2  billion  years'  endowment.  An  irreverent  act. 
Trust  your  inherent  machinery.  Be  entertained  by  the  social 
game  you  play.  Remember,  man's  natural  state  is  ecstatic  won- 
der, ecstatic  intuition,  ecstatic,  accurate  movement.  Don't  settle 
for  less. 


Ecstasy  Attacked — 
Ecstasy  Defended* 

A  Dastardly  Attack  on  Ecstasy 

In  the  September  1963  issue  of  Esquire,  an  article  entitled 
"Getting  Alienated  with  the  Right  Crowd  at  Harvard"  carried 
a  vigorous  attack  on  ex-Harvard  teachers  Dr.  Richard  Alpert 
and  Dr.  Timothy  Leary  and  the  International  Federation  for 
Internal  Freedom  (IFIF) .  The  author,  Martin  Mayer,  leveled 
the  following  charges: 

1.  Leary  and  Alpert  are  like "laxative  salesmen" 

2.  Leary  and  Alpert  are "promoting  drug 


3.  Leary  and  Alpert  have  formed "a  drug  cult" 

4.  Leary  and  Alpert  promote "the  symptoms  of 


5.  Leary  and  Alpert  promote "pathologies" 

6.  Leary  and  Alpert  promote "brain   damage   by 


7.  Leary  and  Alpert  promote "brains  damaged 

by  the  surgeon's 

8.  Leary  and  Alpert  are "promoting      drug 


•An  abridged  version  of  this  chapter  was  published  in  Esquire,  November 
1963.  Ralph  Metzner  and  Richard  Alpert  helped  with  it. 









Alpert,  LEARY,  and  Metzner  Experiment 
with  L.S.D.  at  Harvard     


dbucct)  datectiiem  byllim  £ency 

Front  cover  of  Art  Klep's  satire  on  three  leaders  of  the 
Psychedelic  Movement  (1964). 



FALL  AND  WINTER  1965/66 




"Psychedelic  Sessions"  Flyer  announcing  Leary  and 
Metzner's  Psychedelic  Sessions  (1965-66). 

Ecstasy  Attacked — Ecstasy  Defended  [  71 

9.  Leary  and  Alpert  are  forming  a "drug  cult" 

10.  Leary  and  Alpert  are  fostering "pathologies" 

11.  Leary  and  Alpert  are  promoting  a "drug-induced 


12.  Leary  and  Alpert  are  claiming  the. . .  ."universal     failure 

of  psychologists" 

13.  Leary  and  Alpert  are  having "a  whale  of  a  time" 

14.  Leary  and  Alpert  are  causing "a  terrifyingly 

bad  time" 

15.  Leary  and  Alpert's  experiments  are "utterly    valueless" 

16.  Leary  and  Alpert  are "experimenters 

.  .  .  who  .  .  . 
got  hooked  on 

17.  Leary  and  Alpert  are  promoting "hallucination" 

18.  Leary  and  Alpert  are  promoting  a "deathlike  state" 

19.  Leary  and  Alpert  were "AWOL  from 


20.  Leary  and  Alpert  are  encouraging "popular      miscon- 

ceptions about 

21.  Leary  and  Alpert  are  the "despair  of  .  .  . 

their  .  .  . 

22.  Leary  and  Alpert's "neighbors  .  .  . 

have  .  .  .  gone 
to  court  to  get 
rid  of  them" 

23.  Leary  and  Alpert  adopt  an "apparent   intellec- 

tual respectability" 

24.  Leary  and  Alpert  live  in  a "spiritual     Disney- 


25.  Leary  and  Alpert  opened "a  psilocybin  dram 


26.  Leary  and  Alpert  will  get  the "boom  lowered  on 


The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  72 

27.  Leary  and  Alpert  are  like "fanatic 


28.  Leary  and  Alpert  are  like "overexuberant 

Catholic    converts" 

29.  Leary  and  Alpert  advocate  the "unrestrained 

civilian  use  of 

30.  Leary  and  Alpert  are "very  casual" 

31.  Leary  and  Alpert  suffer  from "delusions  of 


32.  Leary  and  Alpert  gave  their "reluctant      pledge 

not  to  use  under- 

33.  Leary  and  Alpert  are "socially  with- 


34.  Leary  and  Alpert  are "insensitive" 

35.  Leary  and  Alpert  are "impulsive" 

36.  Leary  and  Alpert  have  an "unrealistic  sense  of 


37.  Leary  and  Alpert  are "psychosis 


38.  Leary  and  Alpert  are "immoral" 

39.  Leary  and  Alpert "seem  likely  to 

wind  up  in  places 
where  they  can  be 
closely  observed" 

40.  Leary  and  Alpert "can  turn  them- 

selves  on   at   will" 

41.  Leary  and  Alpert  deny  that "psilocybin  may  do 




42.  Leary  and  Alpert  fail  to  realize  that  LSD  "may  be  more 

dangerous  than  the 
more  obviously 
addicting  drugs" 

Ecstasy  Attacked — Ecstasy  Defended  [  73 

43.  Leary  and  Alpert  argue "that  man  can  be- 

come truly  free 
only  by  handing 
over  his  cortex  to  a 
drug  company" 

44.  Leary  and  Alpert  are "promoting    mind- 

distorting  drugs" 

45.  Leary  and  Alpert  encourage  people  to 

play "Russian   roulette" 

46.  Leary  and  Alpert  demonstrate  that. . .  ."if  you  take  drugs, 

you  are  in  no 
condition  to  judge 

47.  Leary  and  Alpert  act  like "holy  rollers" 

48.  Leary  and  Alpert  have  become "extremely 


49.  Leary  and  Alpert  have  become "conspiratorial" 

50.  Leary  and  Alpert "deny  relevance  to 

all  who  do  not 
share  the  faith" 

51.  Leary  and  Alpert  insist  that  non-drug 

takers "are  damned" 

52.  Leary  and  Alpert  have  developed  a "capacity  for 


53.  Leary  and  Alpert  are "rivals  for  title  of 

world's  worst 

54.  Leary  and  Alpert  are "astonishingly 


55.  Leary  and  Alpert "destroyed  their 


56.  Leary  and  Alpert "will  end  up  like 

group  (s)    who  had 
police  clubs 
bounced  off  their 
heads  to  chase 
them  out" 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  74 

This  multicount  indictment  was  apparently  based  on  an 
interview  with  Professor  David  McClelland,  chairman  of  Har- 
vard's department  of  social  relations.  Professor  McClelland  is  a 
sincere,  honorable  man  not  ordinarily  given  to  slandering  and 
abusing  his  friends  and  his  intellectual  rivals  in  the  popular 
press.  The  customary  outlets  for  scientific  and  scholarly  differ- 
ences of  opinion  are  professional  journals,  whose  rules  of  evi- 
dence and  reliance  on  empirical  data  are  generally  adhered  to. 
Professor  McClelland  has  indicated  that  he  regrets  this  inter- 
view and  the  malicious  twist  it  was  given  by  Martin  Mayer. 

Cause  for  Alarm? 

Mr.  Martin  Mayer  is  alarmed.  Maybe  he  should  be.  These  are 
scary  times.  The  dangers  and  potentials  of  man's  increasing 
ability  to  release  and  use  external  energy,  electronic-atomic,  are 
familiar  to  us  all.  But  the  fact  that  we  now  possess  (in  the  drugs 
LSD,  psilocybin  and  mescaline)  simple  and  sure  means  of  dras- 
tically altering  man's  internal  situation,  of  releasing  powerful 
neurological  energy,  is  even  more  awesome. 

Blow  the  Eight  Million  Minds  of  New  York  City 

And  changing  man's  consciousness  is  exactly  what  can  now  be 
done.  The  only  aspect  of  the  LSD  controversy  about  which  all 
parties  do  agree  is  that  the  new  consciousness-expanding  drugs 
are  powerful.  A  standard  "dose"  of  LSD  is  one  hundred  mil- 
lionths  of  a  gram.  One  pound  of  LSD  could  therefore  blow  the 
minds  of  the  entire  population  of  New  York  City. 

Because  of  the  importance  of  the  issue,  it  is  certainly  valuable 
to  have  critical  appraisals  of  what  scientists  are  doing  with  these 
extraordinary  mind-changing  chemicals.  Martin  Mayer's  article, 
if  nothing  else,  is  useful  testimony  that  partisanship  on  these 
matters  can  become  "furious"  and  ''irrational"  and  "flamboy- 
ant," to  use  three  of  his  favorite  epithets.  But  such  an  extreme 
presentation  as  Mr.  Mayer's  should  be  in  the  form  of  a  dialogue. 
It  would  be  unfortunate  if  Esquire  readers  were  not  acquainted 

Ecstasy  Attacked— Ecstasy  Defended  [  75 

with  the  evidence  and  the  opinions  of  that  sizable  group  of 
scientists,  scholars,  religious  leaders  who  have  been  led  to  differ- 
ent conclusions. 

Who  Are  We? 

Rather  than  litigate  the  more  than  50  libelous  and  defamatory 
implications  of  the  McClelland-Mayer  story  one  by  one,  we 
prefer  to  present  a  list  of  statistics  and  quotations  from  pub- 
lished scientific  documents  which  may  explain  why  we  happily 
left  Harvard  and  why  over  200  scientists  and  scholars  are  risking 
professional  ostracism  in  order  to  continue  research  on  the 
nonpsychiatric  implications  of  consciousness-expanding  foods 
and  drugs. 

We  Are  Industrious  and  Very  Respectable 

First  of  all,  what  is  IFIF?  IFIF  is  the  independent  research 
foundation  started  when  Alpert  and  I  left  Harvard  in  1963. 
The  group  who  selected  this  wry  double  conditional  for  their 
title  is  composed  of  over  1,000  respectable  Americans,  mostly 
psychologists,  ministers,  academics,  creative  artists  who  want  to 
conduct  research  in  the  potentialities  of  their  own  nervous  sys- 
tems by  means  of  psychedelic  foods  and  drugs.  There  are  more 
than  200  doctors  of  psychology  and  medicine  among  the  mem- 
bers. Mr.  Mayer  suggests  that  our  group  is  in  danger  of  "wind- 
ing up  in  places  where  they  will  be  closely  observed."  He  need 
not  worry.  The  first  board  of  directors  of  IFIF  consisted  of  5 
Harvard  psychologists,  a  Harvard  psychopharmacologist,  3  doc- 
tors of  philosophy  with  additional  theological  degrees,  and  a 
professor  at  a  well-known  theological  seminary.  The  scientific 
and  scholarly  output  of  this  group  is  well  recognized  in  the 
academic  community.  They  have  published  dozens  of  books  and 
well  over  a  hundred  articles  in  psychological  and  philosophical 
journals.  Of  the  original  IFIF  board  6  have  received  Harvard 
doctorates,  2  have  doctorates  from  Berkeley,  1  from  Stanford, 
and  the  10th,  a  doctorate  of  divinity. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  76 

What  Have  We  Been  Doing? 

The  stated  purpose  of  IFIF  was  **to  encourage  support  and 
protect  research  on  psychedelic  substances  .  .  .  and  to  take  re- 
sponsibility for  serious  studies  in  this  area."  To  implement 
these  goals,  IFIF  formed  a  number  of  research  groups  and 
projects  all  over  the  country  which  were  ready  to  embark  on 
systematic  studies  of  consciousness  expansion  (until  the  federal 
government  banned  the  drug) .  We  started  and  have  main- 
tained for  four  years  the  only  scholarly-scientific  journal  in  the 
field— the  Psychedelic  Review,  Experimental  transcendental 
communities  were  established  in  Mexico,  in  Massachusetts  and 
in  Millbrook,  New  York,  to  apply  psychedelic  experiences  to 
new  forms  of  social  living.  New  methods  for  recording  and 
charting  experiences  of  altered  consciousness  have  been  de- 

We  have  used  every  form  of  communication  to  turn  on  the 
American  people  to  the  love-joy  within.  We  have  made  movies, 
cut  records,  chattered  and  chanted  on  TV,  rapped  on  the  radio, 
preached,  done  vaudeville  routines,  published  prayer  books, 
manuals,  scientific  articles.  We  have  taught  those  who  would 
listen  what  we  have  learned  about  ecstatic  methods— incense, 
candles,  flowers,  bells,  beads,  yoga,  meditation,  Sufi  dancing, 
shrines  in  the  home,  kinetic  multichannel  art,  Hesse,  Tolkein, 
Bosch,  acid-rock,  Hinduism,  mantras,  mudras,  Tantra,  psyche- 
delic mating,  leaving  the  city,  avoiding  plastic,  walking  barefoot 
and  laughing-eyed,  chanting  love-seed  delight. 

While  several  million  Americans  listened  to  our  message,  the 
people  who  run  the  spaceship  have  cried  with  one  swelling 
metal  voice— ecstasy  is  bad,  ecstasy  is  escape,  ecstasy  is  dangerous  I 


The  Ancient  Struggle  of  the  IVIetal  fAen  against 
the  Flower  People 

History  may  provide  one  answer.  R.  Gordon  Wasson,  a  retired 
vice-president  of  Morgan  Guaranty  Trust  and  himself  a  Har- 

Ecstasy  Attacked — Ecstasy  Defended  [  77 

vard  research  fellow,  has  marshaled  considerable  evidence  indi- 
cating that  the  persecution  of  mind-expanding  foods  and  drugs 
is  not  new  but  indeed  began  when  the  first  Europeans  came  to 
the  New  World.  Three  hallucinogenic  plants  were  used  by  the 
Indians  of  Mexico  before  the  conquest:  peyote,  the  sacred 
mushroom,  and  ololiuqui.  Mr.  Wasson  refers  to  "the  impor- 
tance .  .  .  attributed  to  these  plants,  and  the  strangely  moving 
episodes  that  .  .  .  tell  of  the  Indians'  utter  faith  and  defense  of 
them.  .  .  .  The  civilization  of  Europe  had  known  nothing  like 
these  novel  drugs  of  Mexico,  at  least  not  in  recorded  history. 
Similar  miraculous  powers  were  attributed  in  a  way  to  the  ele- 
ments in  the  mass;  and  the  Catholic  Church  .  ,  .  was  quick  to 
perceive  this,  to  it,  alarming  parallel.  But  belief  in  the  divinity 
of  the  Sacrament  called  for  an  act  of  faith,  whereas  the  Mexican 
plants  spoke  for  themselves.  In  a  number  of  situations  the 
record  is  clear:  the  friars  conceded  the  miracle  wrought  by  these 
agents  but  attributed  them  to  the  machinations  of  the  Evil 
One."  Fear  and  smear  of  psychedelic  drugs  is  far  from  new. 

In  speaking  of  the  hallucinogenic  morning  glory  seeds  known 
as  ololiuqui,  Wasson  says,  "Throughout  these  references  of  the 
Spanish  historians  there  runs  a  note  of  somber  poignancy  as  we 
see  two  cultures  in  a  duel  to  the  death,— on  the  one  hand,  the 
fanaticism  of  sincere  Churchmen,  hotly  pursuing  with  the  sup- 
port of  the  harsh  secular  arm  what  they  considered  a  supersti- 
tion and  an  idolatry;  on  the  other,  the  tenacity  and  wile  of  the 
Indians  defending  their  cherished  ololiuqui." 

The  active  ingredients  of  the  three  plants  which  Wasson 
describes  in  these  passages  have  now  been  synthesized  by  chem- 
ists and  called  mescaline  (peyote) ,  psilocybin  (the  sacred  mush- 
room) ,  and  LSD  (ololiuqui) .  It  is  these  three  drugs  which  have 
stirred  up  the  current  verbal  and  legal  debate. 

Prohibition  Is  Superstitious 

Now  listen  to  the  modern  voice  of  Alan  Watts,  distinguished 
philosopher  and  onetime  Harvard  research  associate,  speaking 
of  the  same  three  drugs:  "The  grounds  for  any  possible  suppres- 
sion of  these  medicines  are  almost  entirely  superstitious.  There 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  78 

is  no  evidence  for  their  being  as  deleterious  as  alcohol  or  to- 
bacco, nor,  indeed,  for  their  being  harmful  in  any  way  except 
when  used  in  improper  circumstances,  or  perhaps  with  psy- 
chotic subjects.  They  are  considerably  less  dangerous  than  many 
of  the  ordinary  contents  of  the  family  medicine  cupboard  or 
kitchen  closet.  As  instruments  of  power  and  inquiry  they  do  not 
even  begin  to  be  as  risky  as  X  rays,  and  as  threats  to  mental 
health  they  can  hardly  match  the  daily  drivel  assailing  our 
thoughts  through  radio,  television,  and  the  newspaper." 

No  critic  of  LSD— journalistic  or  psychiatric— has  yet  cited  a 
convincing  statistic  or  made  reference  to  a  published  scientific 
study  demonstrating  danger,  and  yet  the  hysteria  over  these 
drugs  mounts  and  the  "harsh  secular  arm'*  of  the  government 
and  the  medical  associations  cracks  down.*  The  Medical  Tri- 
bune, in  an  editorial  on  March  18,  1963,  reported  that  these 
drugs  *'have  been  demonstrated  to  be  physically  safe,"  and  then 
on  June  17,  1963,  reliable  sources  told  the  Medical  Tribune 
that  '^district  branches  of  the  American  Psychiatric  Association 
are  seriously  contemplating  disciplinary  action  against  certain 
of  their  members  who  had  developed  large  'LSD  practices.*  " 

The  Trip  Can  Take  You  Anywhere 

One  reason  for  the  struggle  over  the  interpretation  and  use  of 
these  drugs  is  the  wide  variation  in  their  eiBEect.  Chemicals  like 
LSD  cause  no  specific  response  beyond  their  general  tendency 
to  speed  up  and  drastically  expand  awareness.  The  specific  effect 
is  almost  entirely  due  to  the  preparations  for  the  session  and  the 
surroundings— the  set  and  the  setting.  In  this  respect,  the  per- 
son's reaction  to  his  initial  LSD  session  is  much  like  his  first 
reaction  to  his  first  sexual  experience.  If  he  is  psychologically 
prepared  and  if  the  setting  is  voluntary  and  pleasant,  then  a 
whole  new  world  of  experience  opens  up.  But  if  the  initial 

*  These  lines  were  written  on  July  1,  1968.  The  government  has  paid  for, 
promoted  and  widely  publicized  three  or  four  anti-LSD  experiments  (sub- 
sequently disproved)  and  then  openly  claimed  credit  for  "scaring"  young  people 
away  from  the  sacrament.  Deliberate  hoax. 

Ecstasy  Attacked — Ecstasy  Defended  [  79 

experience  occurs  with  inadequate  preparation  or  fearful  ex- 
pectation and  if  the  experience  is  involuntary  and  the  setting 
impersonal,  then  a  most  distasteful  reaction  is  inevitable.  Psy- 
chiatrists have  regularly  given  LSD  to  research  subjects  in  cir- 
cumstances where  they  did  not  know  what  was  going  to  happen 
(double-blind  experimentation)  and  where  the  surroundings 
were  bleak,  clinical,  public,  and  anxiety-provoking.  Such  a 
procedure,  even  in  the  guise  of  science,  is  nothing  short  of  psy- 
chological rape,  and  it  is  exactly  this  sort  of  impersonal  lab- 
oratory experimentation  which  has  given  LSD  a  bad  name  in 
medical  circles. 

So  much  for  the  so-called  dangers.  What  of  the  benefits  and 
applications?  Dr.  Sanford  M.  Unger,  a  government  research 
psychologist,  has  written  a  review  entitled  "Mescaline,  LSD, 
Psilocybin,  and  the  Issue  of  Rapid  Personality  Change."  Doctor 
Unger  is  witty,  skeptical,  but  thorough.  He  has  prepared  an 
annotated  bibliography  of  52  psychiatric  studies  which  docu- 
ment the  curative  powers  of  these  drugs.  Let  us  take  a  brief  look 
at  some  of  the  areas  in  which  LSD  has  been  found  to  be  of 

1.  Alcoholics.  Several  independent  studies  in  Canada  have 
found  that  50  to  60  percent  of  alcoholics  given  one  session  with 
LSD  stay  "dry"  for  follow-up  periods  from  6  months  to  1  year. 
In  1961  LSD  treatment  was  designated  as  the  officially  recog- 
nized method  for  curing  alcoholism  in  the  province  of  Sas- 
katchewan and  was  considered  "no  longer  experimental." 

2.  Neurotics.  Savage  reports  that  of  96  patients  who  had 
undergone  one  intense,  well-prepared  LSD  session,  85  percent 
claimed  lasting  benefit;  78  percent  felt  it  was  "the  greatest  thing 
that  ever  happened  to  me."  The  reported  benefits  included 
"ability  to  love,  to  handle  hostility,  to  communicate,  greater 
understanding,  improved  relations  with  others,  decreased  anx- 
iety, increased  self-esteem,  increased  effectiveness  in  work,  and 
a  new  way  of  looking  at  the  world.  .  .  .  The  data  would  seem 
to  indicate  that  the  felt  benefits  tend  to  become  apparent  some 
time  after  the  LSD  experience  and  to  be  sustained  fairly  well 
over  at  least  the  first  year  following." 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  80 

3.  Criminals.  Leary,  in  a  study  of  convicts  at  a  Massachusetts 
state  prison,  reports  that  inmates  in  the  treatment  program 
which  used  psilocybin  increased  in  "responsibility"  and  "self- 
control"  and  decreased  in  "psychopathy"  compared  to  a  control 
group  who  had  not  received  the  drug.  The  psilocybin  group 
also  had  a  recidivism  rate  that  was  lower  by  23  percent  than  the 
normally  expected  rate,  which  is  over  50  percent. 

4.  Disturbed  Adolescents.  Kenneth  Cameron  has  reported  on 
the  successful  use  of  LSD  with  several  disturbed  adolescents 
with  whom  all  other  forms  of  treatment  had  failed. 

5.  Childhood  Schizophrenics.  Lauretta  Bender,  director  of 
research  and  child  psychiatry  for  the  New  York  State  Depart- 
ment of  Mental  Hygiene,  has  reported  at  a  recent  meeting  that 
in  three  groups  of  autistic  and  schizophrenic  children,  LSD  had 
produced  "behavior  changes  without  any  of  the  acute  psychotic 
symptoms  observed  in  adults." 

6.  Terminal  Cancer  Patients.  In  a  study  with  50  advanced- 
cancer  patients,  Dr.  Eric  Kast  of  the  Chicago  Medical  School  has 
shown  that  small  doses  of  LSD  relieved  pain  for  32  hours,  com- 
pared to  the  2  or  3  hours'  analgesia  with  traditional  pain-killers. 
"The  emotions  invested  in  the  sickness  are  temporarily  diverted 
in  otherworldly  *  or  'transcendental'  directions.  The  patients 
minimize  the  sense  of  impending  disaster  with  an  effect  inap- 
propriate to  our  Western  civilization,  but  most  beneficial  to 
their  own  psychic  states." 

Thus  there  seems  little  doubt  that  LSD  and  other  psychedel- 
ics  have  proven  useful  enough  in  a  large  variety  of  personal  dis- 
turbances to  at  least  warrant  further  unprejudiced  research.  Of 
course,  the  efficacy  of  LSD  has  not  been  established  by  the  most 
rigorous  scientific  standards;  but  for  that  matter,  neither  has  the 
efficacy  of  any  other  form  of  psychological  treatment  been  so 
established.  There  has  never  been,  in  the  history  of  medicine,  a 
method  applicable  to  so  many  conditions,  from  alcoholism  to 
cancer,  which  is  so  rapid  and  effective  in  such  minute  doses. 

What  about  the  effects  of  LSD  on  "normal"  people?  In  4 
separate  studies  by  different  investigators  comprising  more  than 
400  subjects,  LSD  and  psilocybin  produced  experience  of  last- 

Ecstasy  Attacked — Ecstasy  Defended  [  81 

ing  benefit  or  change  in  64  percent  of  the  subjects  and  "a. 
pleasant  experience"  in  73  percent  of  the  subjects.*  An  average 
of  80  percent  wanted  to  repeat  the  experience.  Is  it  not  strange 
that  an  experience  which  is  regarded  with  such  fear  and  distrust 
by  those  who  have  not  had  it  is  so  highly  regarded  by  those  who 

It  Makes  You  Feel  So  Good 

The  evidence  that  LSD  produces  rapid,  even  sudden,  cures  for 
emotional  disorders  is  threatening  enough.  Next  comes  the  evi- 
dence that  the  process  could  be  enjoyable,  even  ecstatic.  That 
something  which  is  "good  for  you"  can  also  be  pleasant  is  per- 
haps the  most  fearful  pill  of  all  for  a  puritan  culture  to  swallow. 

In  a  study  by  Savage,  85  percent  reported  "a  very  pleasant 
experience"  and  81  percent  "an  experience  of  great  beauty." 
Exactly  two-thirds  of  Janiger's  subjects  claim  "a  very  pleasant 
experience";  70  percent  of  subjects  in  a  study  by  Leary  describe 
"wonderful,  ecstatic  or  very  pleasant"  reactions. 

"I  cried  for  joy,"  says  psychologist  Wilson  Van  Deusen  about 
his  LSD  session.  "I  will  have  enjoyed  more  living  in  the  latter 
part  of  my  life  than  most  people  ever  know,"  says  Gary  Grant  in 
summarizing  his  LSD  results.  "A  possession  by  the  spirit  of 
wholeness,"  says  philosopher  Gerald  Heard.  "A  repeated  flow  of 
beauty  to  heightened  beauty  from  deeper  to  ever  deeper  mean- 
ing. Words  like  'grace'  and  'transfiguration'  came  to  my  mind," 
writes  Aldous  Huxley.  "Extraordinary  joy  overcame  me  ...  a 
strong  and  beautiful  feeling  of  eternity  and  infinity,"  chronicles 
Beringer,  the  famous  Heidelberg  neurologist.  "A  New  Artificial 
Paradise,"  and  "A  Divine  Plant"  were  the  titles  of  papers  by 
Havelock  Ellis  describing  his  mescal  experiences. 

Now  such  words  as  joy,  ecstasy,  grace,  beauty,  just  don't  exist 
in  the  psychiatric  vocabulary.  The  poor  psychiatrist  has  been 
given  the  sad  task  of  looking  for  pathology.  He's  happiest  when 
he's  found  problems  and  is  usually  bewildered  when  he  comes 

•  Psychedelic  Review,  No.  1. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  82 

face-to-face  with  the  more  meaningful  experiences  of  life.  This 
dilemma  is  nicely  illustrated  in  a  wistful  comment  by  a  well- 
known  psychiatrist  in  the  1955  round  table  on  LSD  and  mesca- 
line sponsored  by  the  American  Psychiatric  Association:  "I 
should  like  to  confess  that  my  experience  with  mescaline  was  an 
exceedingly  pleasant  one.  I  found  myself  in  my  enthusiasm 
using  words  like  'mystical'  and  'ecstatic,'  until  I  found  my  col- 
leagues raising  their  eyebrows  at  this,  and  looking  at  me 
askance;  after  which  I  simply  described  it  as  Very  pleasant.'  '* 

LSD  Turns  You  On  to  God 

That  LSD  produces  ecstasy  and  sudden  cure  was  probably 
reason  enough  for  its  being  banned  in  America,  but  there  was 
news  ahead  which  increased  the  medical  opposition.  Evidence 
started  turning  up  that  psychedelic  drugs  produced  religious 
experiences.  HorrorsI  In  the  study  by  Savage,  90  percent  of 
subjects  claimed  "a  greater  awareness  of  God  or  a  higher 
power."  Studies  published  by  Leary  revealed  that  over  two- 
thirds  of  a  sample  of  67  ministers,  monks,  and  rabbis  reported 
the  deepest  spiritual  experience  of  their  lives.  And  in  a  double- 
blind,  controlled  study  run  on  Good  Friday,  1963,  in  the 
Boston  University  Chapel,  9  out  of  10  divinity  students  shak- 
ingly  recounted  awesome  mystical-religious  experiences,  and  2 
of  them  promptly  quit  the  ministry!  "The  drugs  make  an  end 
run  around  Christ  and  go  straight  to  the  Holy  Spirit,"  was  the 
paradoxical  comment  of  Theodore  Gill,  president  of  San  Fran- 
cisco's Presbyterian  Theological  Seminary.  The  words  of  Wil- 
liam James,  generally  held  to  be  the  greatest  psychologist  Amer- 
ica has  ever  produced,  were  remembered:  "Looking  back  on  my 
experiences  [with  nitrous  oxide]  they  all  converge  toward  an 
insight  to  which  I  cannot  help  ascribing  some  metaphysical 

According  to  Time  magazine,  "Clerics  .  .  .  charge  that  LSD 
zealots  have  become  a  clique  of  modern  gnostics  concerned  only 
with  furthering  their  private  search  for  what  they  call  'inner 
freedom.'  Others  feel  that  the  church  should  not  quickly  dismiss 

Ecstasy  Attacked — Ecstasy  Defended  [  83 

anything  that  has  the  power  to  deepen  faith.  Dr.  W.  T.  Stace  of 
Princeton,  one  of  the  nation's  foremost  students  of  mysticism, 
believes  that  LSD  can  change  lives  for  the  better.  'The  fact  that 
the  experience  was  induced  by  drugs  has  no  bearing  on  its 
validity,'  he  says." 

Police  Clubs  Bouncing  Off  Our  Heads 

At  this  point  we  remember  Mr.  Wasson's  poignant  account  of 
the  religious  struggle  between  the  Indians  (who  called  the 
Mexican  mushroom  "God's  flesh")  and  the  agents  of  the  Span- 
ish Inquisition.  Esquire's  Martin  Mayer  may  have  been  saying 
more  than  he  wished  to  reveal  when  he  compared  IFIF  to  a 
group  of  heretical  Catholic  converts,  to  fundamentalist  Protes- 
tants, and  to  Christian  Scientists  in  a  context  insulting  to  all 
three  religious  groups.  Mr.  Mayer  predicted  that  IFIF  will  end 
up  like  Catholic  converts  with  "police  clubs  bouncing  off  their 
heads";  he  may  be  telling  us  less  about  LSD  than  about  the 
state  of  his  own  intolerance  for  any  heretical  deviation  from  his 
favored  orthodoxies. 

We  Want  to  Have  Fun  and  Be  Good  Scientists,  Too 

Professor  McClelland  and  Mr.  Mayer  make  a  great  point  of 
saying  that  IFIF  is  no  longer  a  scientific  group.  The  term 
"science"  has  apparently  become  a  sacred  term  forbidden  to 
innovating  theorists  and  methodologists.  It  is  true  that  we  have 
often  dispensed  with  the  rituals  of  modern  psychology.  This  is 
not  because  of  naivet^  or  carelessness  but  from  a  thoughtful 
reconsideration  of  the  philosophy  of  behavior  and  conscious- 
ness. Again,  the  popular  press  is  not  the  place  to  discuss  schol- 
arly differences.  Interested  readers  can  find  our  criticisms  and 
constructive  alternatives  in  the  scientific  literature,  consisting  of 
new  methods,  forms,  instruments  and  hypotheses  designed  and 
used  by  IFIF  experimenters. 

The  accusation  is  also  made  that  IFIF  is  anti-intellectual.  It  is 
true  that  we  are  most  dissatisfied  with  the  intellectual  narrow- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  84 

ness  and  naivete  of  much  of  modern  psychology  and  that  we 
have  taken  as  our  central  task  the  production  of  more  effective 
and  sophisticated  concepts.  We  are  indeed  trying  most  energeti- 
cally to  outmode  current  theories  of  human  nature  as  fast  as  we 
can.  We  do  not  see  this  as  either  rebellion  or  heresy  but  rather 
as  the  traditional  goal  of  the  intellectual-scientific  game.  We 
also  believe  that  all  human  activities,  including  the  scientific, 
are  funny. 

Have  You  or  Haven't  You?  That  Is  the  Question 

The  debate  over  psychedelic  drugs  invariably  breaks  down  into 
two  groups:  those  that  have  had  the  experience  versus  those  that 
have  not.  As  R.  Gordon  Wasson  has  pointed  out  with  gentle 
sarcasm,  "We  are  all  divided  into  two  classes:  those  who  have 
taken  the  mushroom  and  are  disqualified  by  the  subjective  ex- 
perience, and  those  who  have  not  taken  the  mushroom  and  are 
disqualified  by  their  total  ignorance  of  the  subject."  Or  as 
comedian  Dave  Gardner  puts  it,  "How  are  you  gonna  explain 
anything  to  anyone  who  hasn't  ever?" 

But  we  seem  to  need  more  than  the  inexperience-experience 
difference  or  our  American  puritanical  heritage  to  explain  why 
the  "moral,  religious,  social"  applications  of  psychedelic  drugs 
can  be  experienced  so  freely  and  humorously  in  other  countries 
and  why  such  research  is  shut  down  in  America  with  the  un- 
documented cries  of  "morbidity,"  "mortality,"  "danger,"  "im- 

Get  Your  Sterile,  Surgical  Rubber  Gloves  Off  My  Soul, 
Doctor  Farnsworth 

The  political  role  of  medicine  and  psychiatry  may  have  some- 
thing to  do  with  this  difference.  In  other  countries,  physicians 
and  psychiatrists  are  respected  and  well-paid  members  of  the 
professional  class.  That  and  nothing  more.  In  the  United  States 
these  disciplines  aspire  to  and  lobby  for  a  position  of  political 
and  moral  monopoly  which  is  beyond  criticism  or  debate.  Dr. 
Dana  Farnsworth,  our  psychiatric  rival  at  Harvard,  in  his  anti- 

Ecstasy  Attacked — Ecstasy  Defended  [  85 

LSD  editorial  in  the  Journal  of  the  American  Medical  Associa- 
tion is  bold  enough  to  make  this  astounding  statement:  "The 
ingestion  or  injection  or  inhalation  of  any  agent  taken  or  given 
to  alter  a  person's  usual  mental  and  emotional  equilibrium 
must  be  looked  upon  as  a  medical  procedure.  These  agents 
should,  therefore,  be  under  medical  control.  .  .  ."  Snuff  out 
your  cigarette,  boy,  and  forget  your  before-dinner  martini,  and 
throw  out  your  wife's  perfume  bottle.  Ladies  and  gentlemen, 
you've  just  lost  a  freedom  you  never  realized  you  had  to  protect 
—the  right  to  taste,  smell,  breathe  or  otherwise  introduce  into 
your  own  body  anything  which  will  change  your  mind  or  your 
mood.  When  we  talk  about  "internal  freedom"  and  "the  poli- 
tics of  the  nervous  system,"  we  are  foreseeing  and  forewarning 
about  invasions  of  personal  liberty  which  no  longer  date  to  the 
brave  new  world  of  1984.  Our  debate  with  psychiatrists  about 
the  use  and  control  of  psychedelic  drugs  involves  the  right,  right 
now,  of  thoughtful  Americans  to  change  their  own  con- 

Training  for  Ecstasy 

A  final  clarification.  Mr.  Mayer  and  others  have  accused  us  of 
advocating  indiscriminate  availability  and  use  of  consciousness- 
expanding  drugs.  The  facts  are  exactly  to  the  contrary.  IFIF  has 
been  more  outspoken  than  any  other  group  in  the  country  in 
advocating  the  need  for  experience  and  training  in  the  use  of 
these  extraordinarily  powerful  tools.  The  experience,  however, 
must  come  from  the  drug  itself,  and  the  training  must  be  spe- 
cialized. No  present  medical  or  psychological  degree  qualifies 
for  the  job.  A  medical  degree  doesn't  equip  one  to  pilot  a  jet 
plane  or  to  understand  the  incredible  complexities  of  conscious- 
ness. The  LSD  experience  is  so  novel  and  so  powerful  that  the 
more  you  think  you  know  about  the  mind,  the  more  astounded 
and  even  frightened  you'll  be  when  your  consciousness  starts  to 
flip  you  out  of  your  mind.  A  new  profession  of  psychedelic 
guides  will  inevitably  develop  to  supervise  these  experiences. 
The  training  for  this  new  profession  will  aim  at  producing  the 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  86 

patience  of  a  first-grade  teacher,  the  humility  and  wisdom  of  a 
Hindu  guru,  the  loving  dedication  of  a  minister-priest,  the 
sensitivity  of  a  poet,  and  the  imagination  of  a  science  fiction 

Do  You  or  Don't  You? 

The  debate  could  and  inevitably  will  be  continued— in  the 
press,  in  the  scholarly  journals,  in  conversations  and  within 
people's  minds.  Sooner  or  later  everyone  will  have  to  answer  for 
himself  the  simple  basic  question,  do  you  or  don't  you?  Do  you 
want  to  turn  on  or  don't  you?  Do  you  want  to  expand  your 
awareness  or  not?  Transcendence— becoming  aware  of  a  reality 
which  lies  outside  of  time,  space  and  the  beloved  ego— has  been 
a  basic  privilege  and  goal  of  man  since  earliest  times.  In  our 
present  age,  writes  Carl  G.  Jung  in  his  autobiography,  "man  has 
been  robbed  of  transcendence  by  the  shortsightedness  of  the 
super-intellectual."  A  large  number  of  serious  and  responsible 
citizens,  along  with  a  million  or  so  young  people,  believe  and 
have  stated  that  transcendence  can  be  brought  about  by  the 
psychedelic  chemicals,  given  suitable  preparation  and  an  ap- 
propriate setting. 

But  such  a  view  has  too  many  far-reaching  consequences  to  be 
accepted  on  the  basis  of  verbal  debate.  Each  man  must  experi- 
ence it  for  himself. 

This  article  is  unlikely  to  convince  anyone  or  change  any- 
one's opinion.  If  it  will  make  some  readers  of  Esquire  aware 
that  a  different  view  is  possible  than  the  one  expressed  in  Mr. 
Mayer's  article,  our  purpose  will  have  been  accomplished.  Let 
us  recall  to  mind  the  words  Hermann  Hesse,  the  Nobel  Prize 
novelist  and  philosopher,  wrote  in  Siddhartha: 

Words  do  not  express  thoughts  very  well;  everything  im- 
mediately becomes  a  little  different,  a  little  distorted,  a  little 
foolish.  And  yet  it  is  also  pleasing  and  seems  right  that  what  is 
of  value  and  wisdom  to  one  man  seems  nonsense  to  another. 

Peace,  Mr.  Martin  Mayer. 


Chemical  Warfare — The  Alcoholics 
vs.  the  Psychedelics 

Marijuana  alters  consciousness. 

LSD  alters  consciousness. 

On  that  they  all  agree. 

Policeman.  Priest.  Pusher.  Politician.  Prophet.  Pharmacolo- 
gist. Psychologist.  Policeman. 

They  all  agree  that  marijuana  and  LSD  turn  us  on. 

But  how? 

And  to  what  end— evil  or  beneficial? 

To  these  questions  there  is  no  agreement. 

Sincere,  well-intentioned  men  are  led  to  extreme  positions. 
On  the  one  hand— punitive  laws,  repressive  crusades,  police  ac- 
tion, the  arming  of  agents  of  Health,  Education  and  Welfare, 
the  lengthy  imprisonment  of  citizens  for  no  other  crime  than 
the  altering  of  their  own  consciousness. 

According  to  Life  magazine,  "One  of  the  stifiFest  and  most 
inflexible  set  of  laws  ever  put  to  the  federal  books,  the  Boggs- 
Daniel  Act  (1956)  represents  the  high-water  mark  of  punitive 
legislation  against  the  use,  sale  and  handling  of  drugs.  It  im- 
posed severe  mandatory  sentences  for  sale  or  possession— per- 
mitting in  most  cases  neither  probation  nor  parole.  .  .  . 

**In  some  states,  such  as  New  York,  sentencing  is  fairly  le- 
nient. Mere  possession  (25  or  more  marijuana  cigarettes  .  .  .) 
carries  sentence  of  only  (sic)  three  to  ten  years." 

San  Francisco  magazine  reports,  "In  today's  afiiuent  society 


The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [88 

the  use  of  marijuana  is  no  longer  confined  to  the  'dregs'  of 
society.  It  is  becoming  increasingly  fashionable  with  middle  and 
upper-class  youth.  California  jails  now  hold  close  to  6,000  peo- 
ple for  breaking  marijuana  laws.  Sixty-four  percent  of  all  Cali- 
fornians  arrested  on  marijuana  charges  are  under  twenty-five 
years  of  age.  Arrests  for  breaking  marijuana  laws  .  .  .  since 
1962  .  .  .  have  increased  nearly  500  percent." 

On  the  other  hand— passive  resistance,  poetic  and  artistic  and 
scientific  appeals  to  reason,  futile  protests,  flights  into  exile, 

"Dr.  S.  J.  Holmes,  director  of  the  narcotics  addiction  unit  of 
the  Alcoholism  and  Drug  Addiction  Research  Foundation  in 
Toronto  .  .  .  believes  it  is  'fantastic  and  ridiculous'  that  a 
person  caught  with  one  marijuana  cigarette  can  be  sent  to 

"It  is  particularly  ridiculous,  he  said,  when  compared  with 
the  use  and  effect  of  alcohol.  'This  situation  is  really  a  disgrace 
to  our  civilization  and  merits  much  consideration.' 

"The  preliminary  estimates  of  a  foundation-financed  study 
on  drug  use  at  San  Francisco  State  show  that  60  percent  of  the 
students  will  at  some  time  use  an  illegal  drug.  .  .  . 
'     "Marijuana  is  sold  on  the  campus,  smoked  on  the  campus, 
and  used  by  professors. 

"A  Berkeley  sorority  girl  said,  'When  you  drink  you  lose  con- 
trol and  sensitivity,  generally  feeling  and  acting  like  a  slobber- 
ing idiot.  This  never  happens  with  pot. 

"Most  spoke  of  the  legal  problems,  as  did  this  girl:  'It  doesn't 
bother  me  to  break  the  law.  How  many  times  do  you  break  it 
jaywalking  and  so  on?  The  main  thing  is  that  I  just  don't  think 
of  using  marijuana  in  these  terms.  It's  pure  hypocrisy  and 
stupidity  that  it's  not  legal.  The  law  is  wrong  for  both  practical 
and  moral  reasons." 

Cheetah  magazine,  December  1967,  reports  that  one  outlaw 
LSD  manufacturer  alone  had  released  10  million  doses. 

A  UPI  wire  story  from  Washington,  December  28,  1967, 
presents  an  interesting  sidelight  on  "how  we  won  the  war  in 

Chemical  Warfare— The  Alcoholics  vs.  the  Psychedelics  [  89 

"John  Steinbeck  IV,  son  of  the  Nobel  Prize-winning  author, 
said  Wednesday  that  75  percent  of  U.S.  soldiers  in  Vietnam 
smoke  marijuana.  But  the  Defense  Department  said  the  figure 
was  'beyond  all  reason.* 

"Steinbeck,  twenty-one,  who  spent  a  year  in  Vietnam  with 
the  Army,  said  use  of  the  drug  did  not  seriously  affect  a  soldier's 
fighting  ability,  but  made  the  horrors  of  combat  easier  to 

"The  Army  is  investigating  marijuana  use  in  Vietnam  but 
has  not  commented  on  the  results  of  its  study,  although  it  has 
been  reported  that  the  Army  found  that  83  percent  of  its  troops 
use  the  drug." 

There  are  many  dimensions  to  the  psychedelic  drug  contro- 
versy and  no  simple  answers.  I  wish  to  consider  in  this  essay 
three  issues— the  political,  the  moral,  and  the  scientific. 

Who  Is  Fighting  Whom  and  Why? 

To  understand  the  psychedelic  controversy,  it  is  necessary  to 
study  the  sociology  of  psychedelic  drugs.  Who  wants  to  get  high? 
Who  wants  to  smoke  marijuana?  To  eat  peyote?  To  ingest  LSD? 
What  people  comprise  this  new  drug  menace? 

The  young 

The  racially  and  nationally  alienated 

The  creative 

Over  90  percent  of  the  users  of  psychedelic  plants  and  drugs 
fall  into  at  least  one  of  these  three  categories. 

The  Young  Want  to  Turn  On 

Over  50  percent  of  the  American  population  is  under  the  age  of 
twenty-five.  Ominous,  isn't  it?  From  50  to  70  percent  of  the 
usage  of  marijuana  and  LSD  is  by  the  high  school  and  college 
age  group.  Around  70  percent  of  the  arrests  and  imprisonments 
for  possession  of  psychedelic  substances  fall  on  the  shoulders  of 
those  under  the  age  of  thirty.  The  whiskey-drinking  meno- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  90 

pausal  imprison  the  pot-smoking  youth.  Meditate  on  this  sit- 

The  Racially  and  Nationally  Alienated  Like  to 
Turn  On 

Negroes,  Puerto  Ricans,  American  Indians.  The  usage  of  the 
psychedelic  plants  marijuana  and  peyote  in  these  noble  minor- 
ity groups  of  the  American  society  is  high.  The  whiskey-drink- 
ing, white  middle  class  imprisons  those  with  different  cultural 
and  religious  preferences.  Meditate  on  this  situation. 

The  Creative  Have  to  Turn  On 

It  is  conservative  to  estimate  that  over  70  percent  of  non- 
academic  creative  artists  have  used  psychedelic  substances  in 
their  work. 

Painters.  Poets.  Musicians.  Dancers.  Actors.  Directors.  Beatle- 
brows.  The  whiskey-drinking  middlebrows  imprison  the  grow- 
ing edge.  Meditate  on  this  situation. 

The  Criminal  and  Psychedelic  Drugs 

The  stereotyped  picture  of  the  marijuana  smoker  is  that  of  a 
criminal  type.  The  statistics  do  not  support  this  myth.  Mari- 
juana is  used  by  groups  which  are  socially  alienated  from 
middle-aged  values— youth,  Negroes,  Indians,  creative  artists— 
but  few  criminals.  Alcohol  is  the  drug  of  the  middle-aged  white 
criminal.  The  larcenous  and  the  violent.  Safecrackers  and  Ma- 
rines. The  economics  of  heroin  leads  the  addict  to  steal.  Few 
professional  criminals  smoke  pot.  Few  pot  smokers  are  criminals 
(except  for  the  offense  of  changing  their  consciousness) . 

The  Psychedelic  Majority  Group 

The  number  of  pot  smokers  worldwide  is  larger  than  the  popu- 
lation of  the  United  States  of  America!  It  is  safe  to  say  that  there 
are  more  pot  smokers  than  there  are  members  of  the  middle 

Chemical  Warfare — ^The  Alcoholics  vs.  the  Psychedellcs  [  91 

class  throughout  the  world!  Indeed,  we  have  the  astonishing 
spectacle  of  a  small,  menopausal,  middle-class  minority,  tolerant 
to  alcohol  and  addicted  to  external  power,  passing  laws  against 
and  interfering  with  the  social-religious  rituals  of  a  sizable  and 
growing  majority!  Meditate  on  that  one. 

In  this  country  the  number  of  persons  who  have  used  mari- 
juana, peyote,  and  LSD  is  estimated  to  be  over  20  million. 
Remember  the  Indians,  Negroes,  the  young,  the  creative.  We 
deal  here  with  one  of  the  largest  persecuted  groups  in  the 
country.  Until  recently  this  sizable  group  has  been  nonvocal. 
Effectively  prevented  from  presenting  its  case.  Essentially 
stripped  of  its  constitutional  rights. 

Another  crucial  sociological  issue  which  is  easily  overlooked— 
psychedelic  people  tend  to  be  socially  passive.  The  psychedelic 
experience  is  by  nature  private,  sensual,  spiritual,  internal, 
introspective.  Whereas  alcohol  and  amphetamines  stimulate 
the  efferent  nervous  system,  inciting  furious  game  activities,  the 
psychedelics  stimulate  the  afferent  nervous  centers.  Contempla- 
tion. Meditation.  Sensual  openness.  Artistic  and  religious  pre- 

Excesses  of  passive  contemplation  are  little  better  than  ex- 
cesses of  action— but  certainly  no  worse.  God  and  the  DNA  code 
designed  men  to  have  interoceptive  and  exteroceptive  neuro- 
logical systems,  and  any  harmonious  view  of  man  should  allow 
for  judicious  and  thoughtful  balancing  of  both. 

Throughout  world  history  the  psychedelic  people  have  not 
tended  to  form  commissions  to  stamp  out  nonpsychedelic  peo- 
ple. Nor  do  they  pass  laws  against  or  imprison  nonpsychedeli- 
cists.  Pot  smokers  don't  throw  whiskey  drinkers  in  jail. 

The  Molecular  Revolution 

Politically  oriented  activists  have  throughout  history  left  the 
psychedelic  minority  pretty  much  alone.  The  power  holders 
have  been  too  busy  fighting  each  other  to  worry  about  those 
who  prefer  to  live  in  quiet  harmony  and  creative  quietude. 
It  is  harder  work  to  contact  and  control  your  nervous  system 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  92 

than  the  external  symbol  structure.  Yogis,  bhikkus,  meditators, 
Sufis,  monks,  shamen,  hashish  mystics  have  been  too  busy  decod- 
ing and  appreciating  their  afferent  (sensory)  and  cellular  com- 
munication systems  to  busy  themselves  with  political  struggles. 

But  now  comes  the  molecular  revolution.  The  work  of  James 
McConnell  demonstrates  that  learning  is  molecular.  Dumb 
flatworms  eat  smart  flatworms  and  become  smart.  Holger  Hy- 
den  discovers  that  the  brain  cells  of  educated  rats  contain  a 
third  more  RNA  than  those  of  uneducated  rats.  University  of 
California  psychologists  pass  on  learning  from  one  rat  to  an- 
other by  injecting  RNA  from  trained  rats. 

Neurologists  are  "wiring  up"  the  brains  of  animals  and  men 
and  altering  consciousness  by  pressing  buttons.  Press  a  button- 
make  him  hungry.  Press  a  button— make  him  horny.  Press  a 
button— make  him  angry.  Press  a  button— make  him  happy. 

The  psychedelic  chemicals  flood  out  of  the  laboratories.  Into 
the  hands  of  the  two  familiar  groups:  those  who  want  to  do 
something  to  others  for  power  and  control;  those  who  want  to 
do  something  to  themselves  for  fun  and  love. 

U.S.  Army  psychologists  secretly  drop  LSD  into  the  coffee  of 
an  infantry  platoon.  The  surprised  soldiers  giggle,  break  ranks 
and  wander  off,  looking  at  the  trees.  Psychiatrists  secretly  drop 
LSD  into  the  water  glasses  of  psychotic  patients  and  report  that 
LSD  enhances  insanity! 

And  on  the  college  campuses  and  in  the  art  centers  of  the 
country,  hundreds  of  thousands  of  the  creative  young  take  LSD 
and  millions  smoke  marijuana  to  explore  their  own  conscious- 
ness. The  new  cult  of  visionaries.  They  turn  on,  tune  in,  and 
often  drop  out. 

Laws  are  passed  encouraging  the  administration  of  LSD  to 
the  unsuspecting  (patients,  soldiers,  research  subjects)  and  pre- 
venting self-administrationl 

The  Two  Commandments  of  the  Molecular  Age 

Of  the  many  powerful  energies  now  suddenly  available  to  man, 
the  most  challenging  and  sobering  are  those  which  alter  the 

Chemical  Warfare — ^The  Alcoholics  vs.  the  Psychedelics  [  93 

fabric  of  thought  and  judgment— the  very  core  of  meaning  and 

Learning,  memory,  mood,  judgment,  identity,  consciousness 
can  now,  today,  be  instantaneously  transformed  by  electrical 
and  chemical  stimuli. 

In  the  long-short  diary  of  our  species,  no  issue  has  passed  such 
a  promise-peril. 

The  history  of  human  evolution  (not  unlike  that  of  every 
other  species  of  life  on  our  planet)  is  the  record  of  new  forms  of 
energy— physical,  mechanical,  chemical— discovered,  slowly  un- 
derstood and  misunderstood,  painfully  debated,  eventually 
adapted  to. 

Today  the  human  race  is  confronted  with  new  energies  which 
tax  our  wisdom,  confuse  our  judgment,  terrorize  our  emotional 
securities,  excite  our  highest  aspirations  and  threaten  to  alter 
our  central  notions  of  man  and  his  place  on  this  planet. 

Never  has  man  faced  ethical  and  political  issues  so  complex, 
so  delicate,  so  demanding,  so  frightening. 

Never  has  man  been  in  greater  need  of  ethical  guidance. 

And  where  is  it? 

Our  scientists  plunge  enthusiastically  into  the  process  of  con- 
sciousness alteration,  with  little  apparent  regard  for  the  moral 
and  political  complications. 

One  of  the  few  men  who  have  recognized  the  high  stakes  of 
this  new  game  of  cerebral  roulette  is  David  Krech,  psychologist 
at  Berkeley. 

Doctor  Krech  is  quoted  as  saying:  "Until  recently,  these  sub- 
stances were  considered  science  fiction,  but  real  science  has  been 
moving  forward  so  rapidly  in  this  area  that  science  fiction  is 
hard  put  to  keep  up  with  it.  About  fifteen  years  ago,  I  doubt 
whether  I  could  have  found  more  than  a  half  dozen  laboratories 
in  the  entire  world  which  were  concerned  with  basic  research  in 
behavior,  brain  and  biochemistry.  Today  there  hardly  exists  a 
major  laboratory  where  such  research  is  not  being  given  high 

"If  we  should  find  effective  mind-control  agents,"  he  says, 
"we  must  consider  whether  the  manufacture  and  dispensing  of 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  94 

such  agents  should  be  left  to  private  enterprise,  or  to  military 
control,  or  to  political  control.  And  how  should  this  be  done, 
and  when,  and  by  whom?  It  is  not  too  early  for  us  to  ponder 
very  seriously  the  awesome  implications  of  what  brain  research 
may  discover." 

The  time  has  come  for  a  new  ethical  code  to  deal  with  issues 
unforeseen  (or  were  they,  really?)  by  our  earlier  prophets  and 

Although  the  social-political  implications  are  hopelessly  com- 
plicated, the  moral  issues  are  clear-cut,  precisely  pure.  And  if 
the  moral  center  of  gravity  is  maintained,  the  endless  chain  of 
political  and  administrative  decisions  can  be  dealt  with  confi- 
dently and  serenely. 

Two  new  ethical  commandments  are  necessary  as  man  moves 
into  the  molecular  age.  Compared  to  these  imperatives,  the 
codes  of  earlier  prophets  seem  like  game  rules— codes  for  social 
harmony.  The  new  commandments  are  neurological  and  bio- 
chemical in  essence— and  therefore,  I  suspect,  in  closer  harmony 
with  the  laws  of  cellular  wisdom,  the  law  of  the  DN  A  code. 

I  did  not  invent  these  commandments.  They  are  the  result  of 
several  hundred  psychedelic  sessions.  They  are  revealed  to  me 
by  my  nervous  system,  by  ancient  cellular  counsel.  I  give  them 
to  you  as  revelation.  I  ask  you  not  to  take  them  on  faith  but  to 
check  them  out  with  your  own  nervous  system.  I  urge  you  to 
memorize  these  two  commandments.  Meditate  on  them.  Pin  the 
next  page  to  your  wall.  I  urge  you  to  take  300  gamma  of  LSD 
and  present  these  commandments  to  your  symbol-free  nervous 
system.  The  future  of  our  species  depends  upon  your  under- 
standing of  and  obedience  to  these  two  natural  laws.  Ask  your 
nervous  system.  Ask  your  DNA  code. 


I  Thou  shalt  not  alter  the  consciousness 
of  thy  fellow  man. 

II  Thou  shalt  not  prevent  thy  fellow  man 
from  altering  his  own   consciousness. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  96 

Commentary  on  the  Two  Commandments 

Thousands  of  theological,  philosophical  and  legal  texts  will  be 
written  in  the  next  few  decades  interpreting,  qualifying,  speci- 
fying these  two  commandments.  I  happily  leave  this  chore  to 
those  who  face  the  implementation  of  this  code.  But  a  few 
general  comments  may  be  helpful. 

1.  These  commandments  are  not  new.  They  are  specifica- 
tions of  the  first  Mosaic  law— that  man  shall  not  act  as  God  to 
others.  Be  God  yourself,  if  you  can,  but  do  not  impose  your 
divinity  on  others.  They  are  also  specifications  of  the  two  Chris- 
tian commandments— thou  shalt  love  God  and  thy  fellow  man. 

2.  There  are  several  obvious  qualifications  of  the  first  com- 
mandment. Do  not  alter  the  consciousness  of  your  fellow  man 
by  symbolic,  electrical,  chemical,  molecular  means.  If  he  wants 
you  to?  Yes.  You  can  help  him  alter  his  own  consciousness.  Or 
you  can  get  his  conscious,  alerted  permission  to  alter  his  con- 
sciousness—for him  in  the  direction  he  wants,  etc. 

3.  There  are  several  obvious  qualifications  of  the  second 
commandment.  The  First  Amendment  constrains  us  from  pre- 
venting our  fellow  man  from  altering  his  consciousness  by 
means  of  symbols.  This  is  the  familiar  "freedom  of  expression'* 
issue.  But  now  we  must  not  prevent  our  fellow  man  from  alter- 
ing his  own  consciousness  by  chemical,  electrical  or  molecular 
means.  These  are  new  freedoms  which  the  wise  men  who  wrote 
the  American  Constitution  and  the  Rights  of  Man  did  not 
anticipate,  but  which  they  certainly  would  have  included  if  they 
had  known. 

4.  Can  you  prevent  your  fellow  man  from  altering  his  con- 
sciousness if  he  thereby  poses  a  threat  to  others  or  to  the  har- 
monious development  of  society?  Yes.  But  be  careful.  You  walk 
near  a  precarious  precipice.  Whenever  society  restricts  the  free- 
dom of  the  human  being  to  alter  his  own  consciousness  (by 
means  of  symbols  or  chemicals) ,  the  burden  of  proof  as  to 
danger  to  others  must  be  on  society.  We  can  prevent  others 

Chemical  Warfare — ^The  Alcoholics  vs.  the  Psychedellcs  [  97 

from  doing  things  which  restrict  our  consciousness— but  the 
justification  must  be  clear. 

The  Scientific  Approach  to  Psychedelic  Chemicals 

The  political  and  ethical  controversies  over  psychedelic  plants 
are  caused  by  our  basic  ignorance  about  what  these  substances 

They  alter  consciousness. 

But  how,  where,  why,  what  for? 

Questions  about  psychedelic  drugs  remain  unanswered  be- 
cause our  basic  questions  about  consciousness  remain  unan- 

As  we  learn  more  about  the  biochemistry  and  physiology  of 
consciousness,  then  we  will  understand  the  specific  effects  and 
uses  of  consciousness-altering  plants. 

But  external,  look-at-it-from-the-outside  science  is  not 
enough.  Biochemistry  and  neurology  will  soon  unravel  some  of 
the  riddles  of  molecular  learning  and  RNA^  education.  Bless- 
ings on  James  McConnell  and  David  Krech  and  Holger  Hy- 
den.  But  then  what?  Who  shall  use  the  new  magic  molecules? 
Who  shall  control  them?  The  routine  scientoid  solutions  are: 
*'Inject  them  in  the  stupid,  inject  them  in  the  crazy,  inject  them 
into  Army  privates,  inject  them  in  the  senile— and  eventually, 
when  they  are  safe  enough  to  prevent  lawsuits,  sell  them  to  the 
docile  middle  class." 

But  wait  a  minute,  dear  scientoids.  We  can't  do  that  anymore. 
Remember?  We  are  not  dealing  with  molecules  that  blow  up 
the  enemy  or  eradicate  insects  or  cure  headaches  or  produce  the 
mild  stupor  of  alcohol  or  tranquilize  the  active.  We  are  dealing 

1  Within  the  nucleus  of  every  living  cell  lies  a  tiny,  complex  chain  of  protein 
molecules  called  the  DNA  code.  DNA  is  the  brain  of  the  cell,  the  timeless  blue- 
printing code  which  designs  every  aspect  of  life.  DNA  executes  its  plans  by 
means  of  RNA  molecules.  RNA  is  the  communication  system,  the  language,  the 
senses  and  hands  of  the  DNA.  The  language  of  RNA  can  be  passed  from  one 
organism  to  another.  The  discovery  of  this  fact  is  revolutionizing  our  theories 
of  memory,  learning,  consciousness,  and  education.  The  basic  unit  of  learning 
is  molecular.  The  basic  unit  of  consciousness  is  molecular. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  98 

with  agents  that  change  consciousness.  And  we  have  a  new 
commandment  to  obey.  Remember?  "Thou  shalt  not  alter  the 
consciousness  of  thy  fellow  man." 

And  if  society  attempts  to  control  the  new  molecules,  then  we 
have  the  black  market  problem  all  over  again.  You  remember 
the  LSD  situation?  The  scientoid  plan  was  to  research  LSD 
quietly  in  mental  hospitals  and  Army  bases,  double-blindly 
drugging  the  unsuspecting.  But  the  word  got  out— "LSD  pro- 
duces ecstasy.  LSD  helps  you  see  through  the  game  veil."  And 
the  revolution  began.  The  upper-middle-class  underground. 
The  white  collar  black  market. 

And  then  the  laws  and  the  penalties  and  the  arming  of  agents 
of  the  Department  of  Health,  Education  and  Welfare  to  hunt 
down  the  psychedelic  people. 

Any  officer  or  employee  of  the  department  .  .  .  may— 
L  carry  firearms 

2.  execute  and  serve  search  warrants 

3.  execute  seizure 

4.  make  arrests  without  warrants 

(Drug  Abuse  Control  Amendments  of  1965) 

And  next  come  the  "smart  pills."  Will  the  same  cycle  of 
dreary  platitudes  and  bureaucratic  hysteria  take  place  again? 






"Did  you  hear?  There's  a  new  shipment  of  black  market 
Einstein,  A.  A.,  in  the  Village!" 

"I'm  giving  my  wife  some  Elizabeth  Taylor  nucleic  acid  for 

Chemical  Warfare — ^The  Alcoholics  vs.  the  Psychedellcs  [  99 

Christmas.  Smuggled  in  from  Mexico.  We  can  all  afford  to  learn 
new  methods,  right?'* 

"I  know  it's  against  the  law,  but  Willy  is  five  years  old  and 
can't  work  quantum-theory  equations.  So,  in  despair,  I've  con- 
nected with  some  Max  Planck  RNA." 

NEW  YORK,  APRIL  1,  1969,  A.P.I 

The  newly  organized  microbiological  unit  of  the  Health, 
Education  and  Welfare  Department,  armed  with  paralysis  spray 
guns  and  electron  microscopes,  raided  an  RNA  den  last  night. 
Over  one  hundred  million  grams  of  amino  acid  were  seized. 
Agents  estimated  that  the  haul  was  worth  close  to  $800,000. 
Held  on  charges  of  being  present  on  premises  where  illegal 
drugs  were  seized  were  a  poet,  a  philosopher,  and  two  college- 
age  girls.  HEW  agents  tentatively  labeled  the  contraband  mole- 
cules as  Shakespeare  RNA,  Socrates  RNA  and  Helen  of  Troy 

R.  Wilheim  Phlymption,  president  of  the  American  Psychi- 
atric Association,  Amino  Acid  Division,  when  notified  of  the 
raid,  said:  "Amino  acids  RNA  and  DNA  are  dangerous  sub- 
stances causing  illegitimacy,  suicide  and  irresponsible  sexuality. 
They  should  be  administered  only  by  psychiatrists  in  govern- 
ment hospitals  or  Army  research  stations." 

The  four  alleged  drug  cultists  who  were  held  on  $25,000  bail 
smiled  enigmatically  but  made  no  comment. 

These  headlines  won't  happen,  will  they?  They  can't  happen, 
because  now  we  have  the  two  commandments  for  the  molecular 

The  scientist  must  be  prevented  from  experimenting  on  the 
brains  of  other  people. 

*'Thou  shalt  not  alter  the  consciousness  of  thy  fellow  man." 

Congressmen,  policemen,  judges,  and  secret  agents  of  the 
Department  of  Health,  Education  and  Welfare  must  lay  down 
their  arms.  Remember  the  second  commandment: 

"Thou  shalt  not  prevent  thy  fellow  man  from  altering  his 
own  consciousness." 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  lOO 

Now  that  chemists  have  produced  psychedelic  chemicals  and 
biochemists  are  isolating  the  powers  of  RNA,  it  comes  time  to 
face  the  real  scientific  issue. 

The  Scientist  IMust  Talce  ttie  Drug  Himself 

Consciousness  and  alteration  of  consciousness  cannot  be  studied 
from  the  standpoint  of  external  science,  from  the  standpoint  of 
look-at-it-from-the-outside  science. 

Not  only  does  this  violate  the  first  commandment,  it  just 
doesn't  work. 

The  meaning  and  use  of  psychedelic  chemicals— LSD,  STP, 
MDA,  PCP,  smart  pills,  RNA— depends  on  the  scientist's  taking 
the  molecules  himself,  opening  up  his  own  consciousness,  alter- 
ing his  own  nervous  system.  Only  in  this  way  will  we  develop 
the  maps,  models,  languages,  techniques  for  utilizing  the  new 
mind-changing  procedures. 

You  can't  use  these  internal  microscopes  by  clapping  them 
over  the  eyes  of  unsuspecting  mental  patients  and  Army  pri- 
vates. The  scientist  has  to  look  through  them. 

The  mind-altering  chemicals— lysergic  acid,  amino  acids- 
have  to  be  studied  from  within.  The  scientist  has  to  take  the 
love  pill  and  the  smart  pill. 

Oh,  yes,  you  can  observe  their  effects  from  outside,  but  this 
tells  you  very  little.  You  can  "sacrifice"  the  animals  and  discover 
brain  changes.  You  can  drug  mental  defectives  and  psychotics 
and  seniles  and  terminal  patients  and  observe  gross  behavior 
changes,  but  these  are  the  irrelevant  husks.  Consciousness  must 
be  studied  from  within.  Each  psychedelic  chemical  opens  a 
complex  energy  language  which  must  be  deciphered  with  exact- 
ing discipline  and  code-breaking  ingenuity. 

The  molecular  psychologist  must  decipher  these  languages. 
Eventually  everyone  will  learn  them.  This  is  not  a  new  idea. 
This  is  the  core  idea  of  all  Eastern  psychology.  Buddhism,  for 
example,  is  not  a  religion.  It  is  a  complex  system  of  psychology, 
a  series  of  languages  and  methods  for  decoding  levels  of  con- 

Chemical  Warfare— The  Alcoholics  vs.  the  Psychedelics  [  101 

And  this  is  the  original  method  of  Western  scientific  psychol- 
ogy—the trained  introspection  of  Wundt,  Weber,  Fechner, 
Titchener.  The  scientist  must  learn  the  language  of  the  sensory 
neuron  and  cell  and  teach  it  to  others. 

The  typical  scientist  recoils  from  this  suggestion.  It's  a  tough 
assignment,  isn't  it?  No  more  dosing  up  the  passive  subjects. 
You  J  the  scientist,  must  inhale,  swallow,  inject  the  magic  mole- 
cule yourself.  You  train  others  to  do  the  same. 

The  Courage  to  Know 


Yes,  it  is  frightening.  And  this  defines  the  first  criterion  of  the 
scientist  of  consciousness.  He  must  have  courage.  He  must  em- 
bark on  a  course  of  planfully  and  deliberately  going  out  of  his 
mind.  This  is  no  field  for  the  faint  of  heart.  You  are  venturing 
out  (like  the  Portuguese  sailors,  like  the  astronauts)  on  the 
uncharted  margins.  But  be  reassured— it's  an  old  human  custom. 
It's  an  old  living-organism  custom.  We're  here  today  because 
certain  adventurous  proteins,  certain  far-out  experimenting 
cells,  certain  hippy  amphibia,  certain  brave  men  pushed  out 
and  exposed  themselves  to  new  forms  of  energy. 

Where  do  you  get  this  courage? 

It  isn't  taught  in  graduate  school  or  medical  school  or  law 
school.  It  doesn't  come  by  arming  government  agents. 

It  comes  from  faith. 

Faith  in  your  nervous  system. 

Faith  in  your  body. 

Faith  in  your  cells. 

Faith  in  the  life  process. 

Faith  in  the  molecular  energies  released  by  psychedelic 

Not  blind  faith. 

Not  faith  in  human  social  forms. 

But  conscious  faith  in  the  harmony  and  wisdom  of  nature. 

Faith  easily  checked  out  empirically. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [102 

Take  LSD  and  see.  Listen  to  what  your  nervous  system  and 
your  cells  tell  you. 

Take  marijuana  and  learn  what  your  sense  organs  can  tell 

Take  RNA  and  learn  how  the  molecular  learning  process 

Trust  your  body  and  its  reaction  to  the  complex  messages  of 
the  psychedelic  drugs. 







tllVIVERai'TY  BOOIC8      '^S^^     New  Hyde  Park,  New  York 

The  Psychedelic  Experience,  a  guide  based  on  the 
Tibetan  Book  of  the  Dead,  was  published  in  1967. 

"The  Magical  Mystery  Tour"  appeared  in  an  anthology  of 
writings  about  the  Beatles  published  in  1968. 


The  Magical  Mystery  Trip 

For  the  last  few  years,  America  has  been  on  a  Magical  Mystery 
Trip,  planned  and  guided  by  Englishmen. 

they've  been  going  in  and  out  of  fash,  but  they're  guaran- 
teed TO  BE  A  SMASH. 

Everything  harmonious  and  graceful  in  the  electronic  psy- 
chedelic revolution  of  the  1960's  has  come  from  the  venerable 
East-Anglia  Import-Export  Company.  The  eye-land  empire. 

The  English  have  seed  style.  The  polished  performance  based 
on  the  rich  racial  myth.  A  hip  DNA  root  structure  that  enables 
them  instinctively  to  deal  with  the  pulsing  energies  of  our 
time— electronics  and  psychedelics. 


/  was  talking  recently  to  a  member  of  one  of  America's  top 
acid-rock  bands,  who  had  just  returned  from  England. 

''Hey,  man,  the  English  run  a  tight  scene.  Too  literary." 

''Too  literary?" 

"Yeah,  man.  Always  analyzing  and  rapping  about  books. 
They  even  do  the  same  thing  with  grass.  The  head  trip." 

"Well,  I  think  that's  great  of  Britain.  The  trouble  with  our 
hippies  is,  they  aren't  connected.  Rootless.  Turned  on,  but  not 
tuned  in.  The  acidheads  would  move  further  if  they  hooked  up 
with  their  past.  You  know,  the  psychedelic  experience  has  been 
around  for  a  few  thousand  years  before  Haight-Ashbury.  And 

[  103 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  104 

the  English  are  the  original  hippies.  They've  been  writing  about 
it  for  three  hundred  years.'* 

*'Noj  man,  that  history  thing  isn't  where  it's  at.  It's  a  hang-up. 
Freak  out!  That's  the  boss  trip.  Blow  your  mind.  Fowl  Zap! . . ." 

It's  a  curious  fact  that  the  American  psychedelic  movement  is 
almost  completely  a  British  import.  LSD.  Pounds,  shillings  and 


Consider  the  lineage.  The  key  architect  of  the  revolution  is  a 
British  psychiatrist  named  Humphrey  Osmond.  Who?  He  in- 
vented the  term  psychedelic.  Humphrey?  He  turned  on  Aldous 
Huxley  and  Gerald  Heard.  Doctor  Osmond?  Along  with  Abram 
Hofer  (a  brilliant  Canadian  neurologist) ,  he  first  demonstrated 
the  benefits  of  LSD  with  hopeless  alcoholics.  Humphrey  Os- 
mond? He  published  the  first  papers  suggesting  that  psychedelic 
drugs  could  produce  a  transcendental  experience. 

Doctor  Humphrey  Osmond  is  indeed  a  quiet,  wise,  compas- 
sionate Englishman.  A  humorous,  thoughtful,  scholarly  scien- 
tist. A  head  of  his  time.  Shrewd.  Historical-political  overview. 
Broad  philosophic  perspective  on  events  about  which  American 
psychiatrists  don't  have  a  clue. 

In  20  years  of  furious  fulmination,  America  has  yet  to  pro- 
duce a  psychiatrist  who  can  say,  with  Osmond,  "Calm  down,  it's 
been  happening  for  millennia  and  it's  inevitable  and  it's  all 
right.  Read  your  Jung,  young  man." 

And  thank  you,  Evans- Wentz  and  Arthur  Waley,  for  Aldous 
Huxley.  Aldous  had  been  rummaging  diligently  for  some  40 
years  through  biology,  physics,  literature,  philosophy,  Vedanta, 
looking  myopically  through  his  magnifying  glass  for  that  cen- 
tral key-code  that  had  gotten  misplaced,  and  then  Humphrey 
Osmond  turned  him  on  with  mescaline  and  ushered  him 
through  the  doors  of  perception,  and  Aldous  laughed  and  ex- 
ulted for  the  remaining  years  of  his  new  life,  chuckling  about 
gratuitous  grace. 

And  on  the  morning  of  November  22,  1963  (the  last,  dark 
day  of  our  young  President,  himself  a  head) ,  when  Aldous  Hux- 
ley heard  the  Tibetan  whisper  from  his  tissues  that  his  time  had 

The  Magical  Mystery  Trip  [  105 

come,  O  nobly  born,  to  seek  new  levels  of  reality,  your  ego  and 
the  Aldous  Huxley  game  are  about  to  cease,  he  wrote  on  a  piece 
of  paper  "LSD"  and  spent  the  last  eight  hours  of  his  life  on  the 
eternal  high  wire,  dying,  smiling,  just  as  he  had  described  the 
smiling  death  of  the  old  grandmother  on  his  Utopian  Island. 

And  thank  you,  William  Blake  and  A.  A.  Orage,  for  Alan 
Watts,  mischievous  Zen  master,  lyric  Anglican  priest  (high 
church) ,  source,  inspiration  and  guide  (although  most  of  them 
don't  know  it)  for  San  Francisco's  flower  children.  Alan  Watts 
lives  on  a  retired  ferryboat  in  Sauselito,  a  French  Riviera  fishing 
village  across  the  bay  from  San  Francisco.  His  looking-glass 
walls  open  out  on  a  front  lawn  of  shimmering  water  splashed  by 
sea  gull  wings.  From  this  undulating  beach  headquarters  Alan 
Watts,  Lord  High  Admiral  of  the  Beat,  has  been  teaching  hip 
Zen,  square  Zen,  Kyoto  turn-on  methods  to  a  generation  of 
Americans,  and  when  acid  hit  San  Francisco  it  was  no  acid-ent 
that  it  had  a  sweet  Eastern  flavor  because  Alan  had  been  ex- 
plaining Watts  what. 

There  is,  of  course,  high  church  psychedelic  and  low  church. 

Ken  Kesey's  acid-test-rock-and-roU-on-the-floor-freak-out  is 
low  church  psychedelic,  gutty,  shouting,  sawdust  trail.  Alan 
Watts  is  highest  Anglican.  Precise,  ceremonial,  serene,  aesthetic, 
classic,  aristocratic  with  a  wink.  The  ancient  rituals  executed 
perfectly  with  a  quiet  twinkle  in  the  eye.  My  understanding  of 
marijuana  and  LSD  is  mainly  due  to  my  listening  to  and  watch- 
ing Alan. 

Professional  English  isle  watchers  groan  and  demur  when  I 
praise  the  British  cool.  They  cite  grim  horror  stories  of  insular 
smugness.  But  can  you  imagine  an  American  Senator  or  Cabi- 
net member  going  to  a  scientific  congress  and  talking  about 
getting  high  like  Christopher  Mayhew,  Member  of  Parliament 
and  Her  Majesty's  First  Lord  of  the  Admiralty? 

'7  took  the  drug/'  said  Cabinet  member  Christopher  May- 
hew  to  the  assembled  scientists,  ^'because  I  am  the  old  school 
friend  of  Doctor  X  [Humphrey  Osmond].  He  said  he  was 
coming  over  to  England,  and  could  I  recommend  him  for  a 
BBC  Third  Programme  broadcast  to  describe  his  research  work? 
I  said,  'Don't  go  on  sound  radio.  No  one  listens  to  that.  Explain 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  106 

about  hallucinogens  on  television  and  give  this  stuff  to  me  right 
in  front  of  a  film  camera/ 

*'And  the  BBC  quite  rightly  thought  this  a  first-class  idea  for 
a  program,  and  so  did  Doctor  X.  And  he  came  down  to  my 
home  in  Surrey  and  in  front  of  a  film  camera  gave  me,  I  think  it 
would  he  four  hundred  milligrams  of  mescaline  hydrochloride, 
sitting  in  my  own  armchair  at  home.  Those  are  the  circum- 
stances of  the  experiment.'* 

Oh,  you  say  that  Mr.  Christ-hearer  Mayhew  is  one  eccentric 
Englishman,  hut  he  was  not  alone.  In  the  same  scientific  psy- 
chedelic conference  another  Memher  of  Parliament,  the  Hon- 
orahle  Donald  Johnston,  descrihes  his  psychedelic  highs  as 
"transcendental  states;  they  put  you  in  contact  with  some  force 
or  power  with  which  you  are  normally  out  of  contact  in  your 
everyday  life.  .  .  .  Reverting  finally  to  the  *  significance  of 
these  states,'  in  my  case  not  only  did  this  curious  state  seem 
significant  hut  it  was  significant,  hecause  the  whole  trend  of  my 
life  did  happen  to  alter.  There  is  only  one  way  in  which  a 
politician's  trend  of  life  can  alter,  and  that  is  according  to 
whether  you  lose  elections  or  whether  you  win  elections;  and 
whereupon  prior  to  this  event  [his  psychedelic  drug  experi- 
ence^ ten  years  ago,  I  had  spent  my  life  losing  every  parlia- 
mentary election  I  fought,  I  have  heen  fortunate  enough  to  win 
elections  since  then.  Otherwise  I  would  not  he  claiming  col- 
leagueship  with  Christopher  Mayhew. 

"And  I  say  now,  even  after  five  and  a  half  years,  that  this  was 
the  most  interesting  and  thought-provoking  thing  I  have  ever 
experienced  in  my  life.  And  I  say  this  even  today,  when  the 
emotion,  the  vividness,  has  all  worn  off  and  only  a  kind  of  intel- 
lectual conviction  remains.  Not  only  winning  elections  hut 
winning  very  close  elections.  Yes,  this  is  something  for  you 
ladies  and  gentlemen  to  think  ahout." 

there's  a  fog  upon  new  DELHI  WHEN  MY  FRIENDS  LEAVE  PSY- 

O.K.  Can  you  imagine  an  American  Senator,  let's  say  Mr. 
Fulbright  of  Arkansas  or  Mr.  Charles  Percy  of  Illinois,  attribut- 

The  Magical  Mystery  Trip  [  107 

ing  his  election  not  to  the  wisdom  of  his  voting  constituents  but 
to  his  having  turned  on? 

Oh,  but  you  say,  that  was  in  the  1950's,  before  the  generals 
discovered  that  turned-on  flower  people  won't  go  to  war.  To- 
day, you  say,  no  politician  would  dare  defend  LSD  or  that 
greater  vegetable  men-ace,  marijuana.  You  are  almost  right.  In 
China,  ecstasy  is  treason.  In  Russia,  pleasure  is  anti-Communist. 
In  Scandinavia,  turning  on  disturbs  the  smooth-blonde-butter- 
bacon-fat-hush  of  Socialism.  To  an  African  dictator  who  has  just 
gotten  his  hands  on  whiskey  and  machine  guns,  getting  high  is  a 
colonial  conspiracy.  Fierce  Nasser  fears  the  gentle  hashish  more 
than  Israeli  jets.  Senator  Fulbright,  the  great  liberal,  allows 
puritan  Harry  Anslinger,  director  of  our  narcotics  pogrom,  to 
PUSH  an  international  treaty  through  the  U.S.  Congress  which 
prevents  America  from  legalizing  marijuana.  And  only  in  Eng- 
land would  the  following  parliamentary  debate  take  place  in 
the  year  of  our  stoned-out-laughing  God  1967: 


Friday,  28th  July  1967 


Mr.  H.  P.  G.  Channon  (Southend  West) :  All  sections  of  the 
House  will  agree  that  there  is  now  abundant  evidence  that  in 
the  past  few  years  there  has  been  a  vast  increase  in  the  use  of 
drugs  of  all  kinds  in  this  country,  and  in  particular  by  young 

No  Honorable  Member  has  not  at  some  time  taken  a  soft 
drug,  which  can  be  something  as  minor  as  caffeine  or  tea,  and 
few  have  not  taken  alcohol  or  nicotine  at  some  time.  These  are 
the  soft  drugs,  which  are  not  socially  unacceptable  in  this 

The  most  difficult  and  controversial  topic  at  the  moment  is 
the  use  of  cannabis,  or  marijuana,  by  young  people.  This  is 
where  the  law  is  most  widely  flouted.  I  would  like  the  Honor- 
able Members  to  ask  themselves,  first,  why  these  drugs  are 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  108 

taken.  In  every  generation  there  is  a  wish  to  rebel,  first  of  all, 
against  the  standards  of  the  previous  generation.  There  is  some- 
thing of  that  in  the  use  of  cannabis.  Young  people  still  have  too 
little  realization  of  the  dangers  of  all  drugs.  I  was  glad  to  see 
that  the  Secretary  of  State  for  Education  and  Science  is  to 
launch  a  bigger  program  on  that  in  schools. 


Above  all,  however,  there  is  a  feeling  that  those  who  are  a 
little  older  are  hypocritical,  particularly  about  cannabis.  Young 
people  consider,  rightly  or  wrongly,  that  they  are  persecuted  for 
a  harmless  pleasure,  while  adults  freely  use  nicotine,  which 
probably  leads  to  cancer,  and  alcohol,  and  we  all  know  tragic 
cases  of  alcoholism.  Young  people  also  feel  that  it  is  hypocritical 
for  the  state  to  make  vast  sums  of  money,  particularly  out  of 
tobacco,  and  that  the  state's  moral  values  are  wrong.  I  do  not 
defend  or  condone  this  attitude,  but  it  is  understandable. 

The  argument  has  come  to  a  head  in  recent  months  because 
there  is  no  doubt  that  the  number  of  young  people  smoking 
cannabis  has  increased.  It  was  also  brought  to  a  head  by  an 
advertisement  in  the  Times  this  week  in  which  it  was  alleged  by 
many  distinguished  people,  including  medical  people  and  the 
Beatles,  that  the  law  against  cannabis  at  the  moment  is  "im- 
moral in  principle  and  unworkable  in  practice." 

they're  leaving  home,  bye-bye. 

With  the  latter  half  of  that  statement  I  am  beginning  to 
agree.  I  think  that  the  law  is  becoming  increasingly  unworkable 
in  practice.  I  do  not  know  whether  the  House  realizes  how 
many  respectable  young  people  indulge  in  the  practice.  I  am 
not  talking  about  the  lower  strata,  the  people  who  are  so  dis- 
tressed that  they  have  no  other  form  of  relief  than  marijuana.  I 
fear  that  there  are  large  numbers  of  respectable  people  with 
good  jobs,  or  students,  who  are  taking  the  drugs,  and  they  rep- 
resent an  intelligent  section  of  our  society.  For  them  repression 

The  Magical  Mystery  Trip  [  109 

is  not  enough.  They  must  be  convinced  as  well  as  repressed,  if 
repression  is  the  right  step. 


/  want  to  see  the  problem  solved,  because  I  am  certain  that 
young  people  will  go  on  using  the  drug  unless  they  can  be 
convinced  intellectually  that  it  has  the  dangerous  dangers  which 
it  is  widely  believed  to  possess.  I  am  told  that  we  have  the 
mildest  kind  of  marijuana  in  Britain  and  that  there  is  a  grave 
danger  in  the  future  that  we  shall  have  adulterated  marijuana, 
maybe  mixed  with  heroin  or  opium,  if  this  situation  is  allowed 
to  slide  much  longer. 


/  very  much  doubt  whether  the  law  is  the  best  way  to  control 
human  behavior  of  this  kind.  I  believe  that  it  must  be  inquired 
into,  and  I  would  see  some  advantages  if  it  were  possible  to 
control  this  drug  as  alcohol  is  controlled— with  far  stricter  con- 
trol of  those  under  eighteen  who  take  the  drug.  There  will  have 
to  be  far  stricter  control,  for  example,  of  people  who  drive  cars 
while  under  the  influence  of  this  drug. 

What  alarms  me  about  this,  as  with  so  many  social  problems, 
is  that  it  has  been  creeping  up  on  us  for  some  time,  almost 
unnoticed,  until  suddenly  it  has  begun  to  snowball.  The  prob- 
lem has  reached  a  crucial  point.  Many  people  talk  about  the 
generation  gap.  That  has  always  existed.  Nevertheless,  there  is 
something  in  that  argument  today.  I  am  sure  the  gap  between 
the  generations  is  greater  than  it  was  ten  years  ago,  because  I 
find  that  so  many  young  people  suspect  our  generation  of 

Mr.  Tom  Driberg  {Barking  :  I  shall  speak  only  briefly,  in 
order  to  allow  my  Honorable  friend  Minister  of  State  to  answer 
the  debate  and  to  any  other  Honorable  Member  who  may  wish 
to  speak.  The  debate  will  have  been  of  great  use  if  it  leads  to  the 
further  research  and  action  which  the  Honorable  Member  for 
Southend  West  [Mr.  Channon]  suggested,  and  I  congratulate 
him  on  having  raised  this  hotly  topical  subject. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [110 

He  referred  to  the  [legalize  pot]  advertisement  in  the  Times 
of  last  Monday.  I  was  one  of  the  only  two  Members  of  this 
House  who  signed  it  and  would  not  have  done  so  if  I  had  not 
been  in  general  agreement  with  what  was  said.  There  have  been 
criticisms  of  the  advertisement  in  the  Times,  but  I  do  not  think 
that  such  people  as  Dr.  Stafford-Clark,  Dr.  Antony  Storr,  and 
other  doctors  and  scientists,  including  the  two  Nobel  Prize  win- 
ners, would  have  signed  it  if  this  had  been  a  completely  irre- 
sponsible thing  to  do. 

Mr.  Marcus  Lipton  {Brixton) :  The  Honorable  Member  for 
Southend  West  [Mr.  Channon]  has  served  a  very  useful  pur- 
pose in  raising  this  difficult  and  topical  subject  today.  I  find 
myself  in  a  large  measure  of  agreement  with  the  aims  of  this 
committee,  about  which  the  general  public  do  not  know  very 
much.  It  should  be  given  some  advertisement. 

We  should  also  like  to  know  when  this  committee  started  to 
discuss  the  problem  of  cannabis,  how  often  it  meets  and  when  it 
is  likely  to  report.  Who  is  sitting  on  it?  Whose  opinions  are  we 
asked  to  accept  on  this?  It  is  a  vitally  important  thing  that 
whatever  this  committee  reports  should  be  accepted  by  the 
general  public,  particularly  by  the  younger  generation.  It  is  no 
use  using  Victorian  language  hoping  to  convince  the  younger 


Miss  Alice  Bacon,  Minister  of  State,  Home  Office:  I  have  only 
a  few  minutes  and  cannot  give  way. 

Views  have  been  given  this  morning  about  cannabis.  It  would 
be  entirely  mad  for  the  government  to  relax  the  laws  without 
more  information  to  be  obtained  by  the  committee.  It  has  been 
said  in  this  morning's  newspapers  that  in  Birmingham  a  great 
many  people  who  take  heroin  started  with  cannabis.  Ninety- 
seven  percent  of  the  heroin  addicts  known  to  the  Home  Office 
have  a  previous  history  of  cannabis  taking. 

Mr.  Drib  erg:  And  of  alcohol. 

Miss  Bacon:  The  government  would  be  mad,  apart  from  the 

The  Magical  Mystery  Trip  [111 

international  conventions  of  which  we  are  a  part,  to  relax  these 

I  believe  that  at  the  present  time  we  are  in  danger  in  this 
country.  I  am  not  speaking  only  of  cannabis  but  also  of  some 
other  drugs  which  have  been  mentioned,  particularly  LSD— of 
some  people  misleading  young  people  by  not  only  taking  drugs 
themselves  but  trying  to  influence  the  minds  of  young  people 
and  encourage  them  to  take  drugs.  I  do  not  often  read  the 
Queen,  but  I  was  at  the  hairdresser's  yesterday.  [Honorable 
Members:  "Hear,  hear.'']  This  magazine  was  passed  to  me  to 
while  away  the  time  when  I  was  under  the  hair  dryer.  There  is  a 
very  long  article  in  it  called  "The  Love  Generation,"  with 
statements  by  various  people  who  are  pop  singers  and  managers 
of  pop  singers.  I  was  horrified  at  some  of  the  things  I  read  in  it. 
For  instance,  Paul  McCartney  says,  among  other  things: 

God  is  in  everything.  God  is  in  the  space  between  us.  God  is 
in  that  table  in  front  of  you.  God  is  everything  and  everywhere 
and  everyone. 

It  just  happens  that  I  realized  all  this  through  acid  [LSD], 
but  it  could  have  been  done  through  anything.  It  really  doesn't 
matter  how  I  made  it.  .  .  .  The  final  result  is  all  that  counts. 

Mr.  Channon:  Is  the  Honorable  lady  quoting  prominent 
people  in  favor  of  drug  taking?  It  is  terribly  dangerous  to  quote 
people  like  that  when  we  are  against  drug  taking. 

Mr.  Driberg:  He  [Paul  McCartney]  is  a  very  good  man. 


Miss  Bacon:  I  am  illustrating  the  argument.  The  Honorable 
Member  raised  this  question  this  morning  and,  running 
through  his  speech,  I  thought  I  detected  a  sort  of  feeling  that  we 
should  relax  on  cannabis.  Maybe  I  am  wrong,  but  if  he  does  not 
want  any  publicity  to  be  given  at  all,  this  debate  should  not 
have  taken  place  this  morning. 

The  manager  of  the  Beatles  said  in  this  article  that  there  is  a 
new  mood  in  the  country  and: 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [112 

**This  new  mood  has  originated  from  hallucinatory  drugs, 
and  I  am  wholeheartedly  on  its  side." 

This  may  sound  amusing  to  Honorable  Members,  but  young 
people  take  quite  seriously  what  pop  stars  say.  What  sort  of 
society  will  we  create  if  everyone  wants  to  escape  from  reality? 

Mr.  Briber g:  They  want  to  escape  from  this  horrible  society 
we  have  created. 

Miss  Bacon:  Today  there  are  those  who  see  in  society's  atti- 
tude to  drug  taking  the  opportunity  for  questioning  traditional 
values  and  self-judgments  of  all  kinds  and  for  advocating  aims 
and  conduct  going  far  beyond  the  ** kicks'*  and  pleasures  of  a  few 
pills.  For  them  drug  taking  is  a  way— the  way— of  life  to  which 
they  beckon  the  impressionable,  the  curious,  the  frustrated,  and 
the  demoralized.  Insidiously  or  openly,  wittingly  or  unwit- 
tingly, the  young  are  being  taught  the  paraphernalia  of  psyche- 
delic experience,  and  the  catch  phrases  of  drug  cults. 


This  seems  to  be  the  real  challenge  of  soft  drugs,  and  it  is 
growing.  The  government  believes  that  it  is  time  for  responsi- 
ble influences  to  check  the  trend.  It  is  time  to  make  clear  that 
teen-age  drug  taking  is  ill-advised,  if  not  dangerous  to  personal- 
ity and  health.  It  is  time  to  rebut  the  claim  of  those  who  profess 
to  make  mystics  out  of  the  immature.  This  is  a  challenge  which 
all  sections  of  society  must  take  up.  The  government  are  re- 
solved to  do  their  part. 

Thank  you,  Mr.  Channon,  Mr.  Driberg  and  Mr.  Lipton,  for 
the  light  and  humor  in  these  gloomy  times.  May  your  constitu- 
ents reach  voting  age  and  continue  to  turn  you  on  and  turn 
your  Honorable  enemies  out. 


And  then  there  is  Ronald  Laing,  turned-on,  wry  Scottish 

One  day  in  1964  I  received  a  phone  call  from  a  British  psy- 
chiatrist   visiting    New    York.    Mentioned    Allen    Ginsberg. 

The  Magical  Mystery  Trip  [  113 

Wanted  to  come  to  visit.  O.K.  He'd  arrive  on  the  noon  train 
tomorrow.  Name  of  Ronald  Laing. 

When  he  phoned  from  the  train  station,  I  groaned.  Another 
dreary,  platitudinous  psychiatrist.  He  walked  into  the  kitchen, 
and  we  stood  looking  at  each  other.  He  was  solid  brown  tweed 
with  a  flicker  of  gold. 

We  sat  at  the  table,  ate  a  sandwich,  drank  wine.  I  told  him 
that  medical-therapeutic  talk  about  LSD  was  a  fake.  I  was  inter- 
ested only  in  the  mystic  aspects  of  the  drug. 

His  move. 

He  said  that  the  only  doctor  who  could  heal  was  the  one  who 
understood  the  shamanic,  witchcraft  mystery  of  medicine. 

Ronald  Laing  took  off  his  coat  and  loosened  his  tie. 


After  a  bit  he  said  he  knew  an  interesting  game.  Did  I  want 
to  play  it? 

We  took  off  our  shoes  and  stood  in  the  space  between  the 
kitchen  sink  and  the  table. 

The  point  of  this  game  is  to  move  your  hands  and  your  body 
without  talking. 

We  began  to  spar,  karate  style,  moving  in  between  each 
other's  guard. 

Do  we  have  to  spar? 

A  shrug. 

Our  hands  changed  into  a  dance.  Paired  sculpturing  of  air, 
molded  liquid  forms,  now  moving  slowly,  then  whirling.  My 
eyes  were  riveted  to  his  eyes.  I  was  gone.  Spun  out  of  the 
kitchen  at  Millbrook,  spun  out  of  time.  Stoned  high  in  a  Sufi 
ballet.  We  were  two  organisms  from  different  planets— com- 
municating. I  was  an  Eskimo  on  an  ice  floe.  He  was  a  visiting 
explorer.  We  were  exchanging  the  hard-core  information  about 
life,  our  tribe,  the  mystery.  We  were  two  animals  of  different 
species,  of  the  same  species,  of  the  same  litter,  from  separate 

We  were  sitting  on  the  floor  in  the  lotus  position,  arms, 
hands,  weaving.  The  dialogue  lasted  for  an  hour  Greenwich 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  114 

time.  A  dozen  people  had  walked  in,  watched  and  left  the 
kitchen.  My  son  and  some  friends  came  home  from  school, 
glanced  at  the  two  seated  forms,  made  lunch  and  left.  "My  dad 
and  his  friends  are  potty." 

We  opened  our  eyes.  It  was  dark.  Time  to  catch  the  train 
back  to  New  York. 

Six  months  later,  in  Alex  Trocchi's  London  nerve-pulse  heart 
chamber,  people  sitting  around  taking  the  Trocchi  trip.  Door 
opens.  Ronnie  Laing  enters.  Sits  on  mattress.  Begins  to  de- 
scribe some  Tantric  sex  rituals  that  an  old  schizophrenic  patient- 
cum-guru  had  passed  on  to  him.  Soft  Scot  burr.  Exquisite  psy- 
chedelic poetry.  He  had  all  our  heads  in  his  graceful  hands. 
Especially  the  women. 

WHY  don't  we  sink  THIS  WRONG  ALL  TOGETHER?  OPEN  OUR 

You  will  not  find  on  this  planet  a  more  fascinating  man  than 
Ronald  Laing.  A  pontifex.  A  bridge  builder  between  worlds.  As 
a  straight  psychiatric  researcher  he  casually  turns  out  sophisti- 
cated, penetrating  books  about  the  social  meaning  of  mental 
illness.  Turns  on  that  dreariest  of  professions  with  graceful 
strokes.  An  elegant  hippy.  Shrewd  Eden-burg  observations.  Aca- 
demic poise.  He  is  tuned  in  to  Eastern  philosophy,  English 
poetry.  Magister  ludi.  He  weaves  science-religion-art-experience 
into  the  slickest  bead  game  of  our  time. 


Historical  note:  On  December  31,  1600,  Queen  Elizabeth 
granted  a  charter  to  the  English  East  India  Company.  The  aim 
of  the  game  was  to  bring  back  peppers  and  spices  of  the  East. 
The  fabled  turn-on  vegetables.  This  charter  granted  over  350 
years  ago  has  had  more  effect  on  the  psychedelic  revolution  of 
the  1960's  than  Sandoz  Laboratories  and  its  lysergic  discoveries. 
Without  the  East  India  expedition  LSD  would  be  a  pharmaco- 
logical curiosity. 

It  happened  like  this.  From  1600  to  1946  several  hundred 

The  Magical  Mystery  Trip  [115 

thousand  Englishmen— soldiers,  administrators,  scholars— took  a 
trip  to  India.  They  went  there  to  mind  a  colony,  but  many  of 
them  got  their  minds  colonized  by  smiling  Krishna,  the  aphro- 
disiac love  god.  The  impact  of  a  visit  to  India  is  psychedelic. 
You  are  flipped  out  of  your  space-time  identity.  Indian  life  un- 
folds before  you  a  million-flowered-person-vine-serpent  coil  of 
life  ancient,  wrinkled,  dancing,  starving,  laughing,  sick,  swarm- 
ing, inconceivable,  unreasonable,  mocking,  singing-multi- 
headed,  laughing  God  dance. 

And  the  English  in  India  got  turned  on.  Even  today  the 
tourist  who  strays  from  the  deluxe  plastic  path  and  wanders  into 
the  villages  will  be  offered  bhang,  charras,  ganga,  attar,  some 
one  of  a  thousand  ways  the  Indians  prepare  hemp. 

OH,  we've  got  all  the  gooroos  an'  we've  got  lovely  taboos, 


I  spent  a  winter  once  in  a  little  hut  near  the  Himalayan  snow 
peaks.  Before  his  weekly  hike  to  the  village  to  shop,  my  Moslem 
cook  would  ask,  "Two  attar?"  and  I'd  nod  and  give  him  an 
extra  dollar,  and  he'd  come  back  with  two  sticks,  as  long  as  your 
little  finger,  of  the  best  hashish  that  ever  stoned  out  a  Mongul 
emperor,  and  I'd  give  him  one  and  he'd  grin.  It  was  rolled  into 
a  hard,  resinous  stick  by  hand  and  smoked  by  all  the  farmers, 
and  you  can  bet  that  this  little  weekly  ceremony— me  and  my 
smiling  cook— had  been  acted  out  for  300  years  by  every  Eng- 
lishman in  India  who  had  ears  to  listen  and  eyes  to  see  what  was 

And  after  you  turn  on  with  hashish  you  can  tune  in  to  the 
incredible  sensuous  hit  of  India  and  the  myriad  mystic  mosaic 
of  India,  and  you  can  read  the  Vedas  and  Vedantas  in  your  own 
tissues  and  understand. 

Hundreds  of  thousands  of  Englishmen  returned  home  to  the 
island  turned  around  by  the  Indian  consciousness.  Britannia 
ruled  the  plains,  but  India  copped  the  rulers'  brains.  The  intel- 
lectual fabric  of  England  is  indelibly  imprinted  with  the  un- 
dulating madras,  paisley  design. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [116 


And  this  accounts  for  the  fact  that  English  intellectuals  never 
swallowed  French  rationalism,  the  bitter  gaul  of  mind  spinning 
out  its  chess  moves  to  the  inevitable  end  of  the  head-trip-exis- 
tential despair.  Reason  is  absurd  but  energy-maya-prana  con- 
sciousness is  not  absurd  because  it  moves,  merges,  copulates, 
smiles,  and  lovingly  swallows  up  the  mind.  Few  French  intellec- 
tuals grasped  this  and  the  few  that  did,  like  Ren6  Daumal  and 
Baudelaire,  were  Sanskrit  scholars  and  hashish  heads. 

You  recall  that  while  Jules  Verne  was  writing  about  clanking 
mechanical  trips  1,000  leagues  "down,"  H.  G.  Wells,  a  visionary 
Englishman,  saw  mind  at  the  end  of  its  tether  and  predicted 
quite  accurately  that  mankind  would  mutate  into  two  different 
species— the  gentle  flower  people  living  in  the  sun  and  the 
machine  people  living  underground. 

And  E.  M.  Forster  made  the  passage  to  India,  and  Charles 
Dodgson  tripped  with  mushroom-eating  Alice,  Jonathan  Swift 
tripped  with  Gulliver,  James  Joyce  tripped  with  Bloom  and 
Earwicker,  John  Bunyan  with  the  Christian  Pilgrim,  J.  R.  R. 
Tolkien  with  his  elves,  and  how  about  Alistair  Crowley  and 
Conan  Doyle. 

Britannia— you  are  a  nation  of  inveterate  trippers,  heads  and 
stoned  visionaries! 

It  was  unavoidable  that  the  first  great  psychedelic  novel 
would  be  written  by  someone  with  a  name  like  John  Fowles. 
The  Magus.  Not  since  I  read  Joyce's  Ulysses  in  1941  have  I 
experienced  that  special  epic-mystery  excitement  from  a  book. 
The  Magus  raises  the  basic  ontological  questions,  confronts  the 
ancient,  divine  mystery  and  backs  away  from  the  riddle  with  the 
exact  balance  of  reverence  and  humor.  At  Millbrook  we  use 
The  Magus  as  psychochemical  litmus  paper.  Those  readers  who 
report  boredom  just  haven't  made  our  trip. 

And  then  come  the  Beatles,  hoping  to  take  us  away. 

Obeisances  and  profound  gratitude  to  you,  inspired  revealers 
of  the  great  vibration. 

The  Four  Evangelists! 

The  Magical  Mystery  Trip  [  117 

Are  you  meaning  St.  Paul  and  St.  John  and  St.  George?  I 
mean  now,  thank  all,  the  four  of  them  and  the  roar  of  them  that 
drays  that  stray  in  the  mist,  and  old  St.  Ringo  along  with  them. 
And  George  Martin.  And  the  Rolling  Stones. 

Rosemary  and  I  spent  the  summer  of  '67  in  a  tepee  on 
Ecstasy  Hill  in  Millbrook,  devoting  an  hour  or  two  each  day 
to  getting  high  and  listening  to  a  portable  record  player  spin 
the  new  testaments  according  to  Sergeant  Pepper  and  their 
Satanic  Majesties.  It's  all  there. 

How  clever  and  unexpected  and  yet  typical  of  God  to  send 
his  message  this  time  through  the  electric  instruments  of  four 
men  from  Liverpool  and  the  Holy  Rollers. 


Beloved  gurus  of  Liverpool,  I'm  four  you.  I've  got  nothing  to 
say  that  you  haven't  said  briefer,  cleaner,  stronger. 

It  was  as  inevitable  that  George  Harrison  would  go  to  India 
as  it  was  that  Elvis  Presley  would  go  to  Hollywood  and  that 
Mick  Jagger  and  Keith  Richards  would  write  in  a  prison  cell 
holy  hymns  forgiving  their  jailers. 

To  future  social  historians  I  humbly  suggest  that  the  spiritual 
cord  that  holds  our  civilization  from  suicide  can  be  traced  from 
the  Himalayan  forests  where  Vedic  philosophers  drank  soma, 
down  the  Ganja,  through  the  Suez  by  P.  and  O.  and  over  to 

My  fellow  Americans,  psychedelicists,  hippies,  flowerheads, 
monks,  nuns,  searchers,  trippers,  I  humbly  suggest  that  to  find 
God  we  have  to  learn  to  speak  English.  Our  DNA  code  seems 

•  This  article  is  the  first  of  a  two-part  series.  In  the  second  essay  the  author 
will  demonstrate  on  the  basis  of  philological,  anthropological  and  historical  evi- 
dence that  the  literary-spiritual  soul  of  the  English  language  is  actually  Celtic. 


She  Comes  in  Colors' 

On  a  sunny  Saturday  afternoon  in  1960,  beside  the  swimming 
pool  of  his  rented  summer  villa  in  Cuernavaca,  a  thirty-nine- 
year-old  American  ate  a  handful  of  odd-looking  mushrooms 
he'd  bought  from  the  witch  doctor  of  a  nearby  village.  Within 
minutes,  he  recalled  later,  he  felt  himself  ''being  swept  over  the 
edge  of  a  sensory  Niagara  into  a  maelstrom  of  transcendental 
visions  and  hallucinations.  The  next  5  hours  could  be  described 
in  many  extravagant  metaphors,  but  it  was  above  all  and  with- 
out question  the  deepest  religious  experience  of  my  life.'*  The 
implications  of  that  fateful  first  communion  are  as  yet  un- 
measured; that  they  are  both  far-reaching  and  profound,  how- 
ever, is  generally  conceded— for  the  fungi  were  the  legendary 
''sacred  mushrooms''  that  have  since  become  known,  and  feared 
by  many,  as  one  of  the  psychedelic  (literally,  mind-manifest- 
ing) chemicals  that  have  created  a  national  fad  among  the  na- 
tion's young  and  a  scandal  in  the  press.  The  American  was  a 
Harvard  psychotherapist  named  Timothy  Leary,  who  has  since 
found  himself  transmogrified  from  scientist  and  researcher  into 

*  Reprinted  from  the  September  1966  issue  of  Playboy  magazine.  Copyright  (c) 
1966  by  HMH  Publishing  Company,  Inc.  If  this  interview  had  been  conducted 
for  Sports  Illustrated,  the  conscientious  interviewee  would  naturally  consider  the 
question.  How  LSD  Can  Raise  Your  Batting  Average.  Considerable  thought 
was  given  to  the  title  of  this  chapter.  To  reflect  concisely  the  dilemma  of  the 
interviewee  Paul  Krassner  suggested:  "Collecting  Orgasms  for  Fun  and  Profit." 
Michael  Hollingshead  contributed:  "Commonsensual  Advice  for  Serious  Play- 
boys." Darlene  chipped  in  with:  "LSD  for  Bunnies  and  Playboys."  The  version 
selected  (for  the  first  edition)  was  offered  by  Rosemary  Leary,  with  admiring 
thanks  to  the  Rolling  Stones. 

[  118 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  119 

progenitor  and  high  priest  of  a  revolutionary  movement 
spawned,  not  by  an  idea  but  by  a  substance  that's  been  called 
"the  spiritual  equivalent  of  the  hydrogen  bomb." 

Few  men,  in  their  youth,  would  have  seemed  less  likely  to 
emerge  as  a  religious  leader,  let  alone  as  a  rebel  with  a  cause.  At 
the  age  of  nineteen,  Leary  distressed  his  Roman  Catholic 
mother  by  abandoning  Holy  Cross  two  years  before  graduation 
{''the  scholastic  approach  to  religion  didn't  turn  me  on") ,  then 
affronted  his  father,  a  retired  Army  career  officer,  by  walking  out 
of  West  Point  after  18  months  ("my  interests  were  philosophic 
rather  than  militaristic") .  Not  until  he  transferred  to  the  Uni- 
versity of  Alabama  did  he  begin  to  settle  down  academically 
—to  work  for  his  B.A.  in  psychology.  On  graduation  in  1942  he 
enlisted  as  an  Army  psychologist,  served  in  a  Pennsylvania 
hospital  until  the  end  of  the  war,  then  resumed  his  schooling 
and  earned  his  Ph.D.  at  the  University  of  California  at  Berke- 
ley. Acquiring  both  eminence  and  enemies  with  his  first  major 
jobs— as  director  of  Oakland's  progressive  Kaiser  Foundation 
Hospital  and  as  an  assistant  professor  at  UC's  School  of  Medi- 
cine in  San  Francisco— Leary  began  to  display  the  courage  and 
sometimes  rash  iconoclasm  that  have  since  marked  every  phase 
of  his  checkered  career.  Contending  that  traditional  psychiatric 
methods  were  hurting  as  many  patients  as  they  helped,  he  re- 
signed in  1938  and  signed  up  as  a  lecturer  on  clinical  psychol- 
ogy at  Harvard.  There  he  began  to  evolve  and  enunciate  the 
theory  of  social  interplay  and  personal  behavior  as  so  many 
stylized  games,  since  popularized  by  Dr.  Eric  Berne  in  his  best- 
selling  book  Games  People  Play,  and  to  both  preach  and  prac- 
tice the  effective  but  unconventional  new  psychiatric  research 
technique  of  sending  his  students  to  study  emotional  problems 
such  as  alcoholism  where  they  germinate,  rather  than  in  the 
textbook  or  the  laboratory. 

At  the  time,  predictably  enough,  few  of  these  novel  notions 
went  over  very  well  with  Leary's  hidebound  colleagues.  But 
their  rumblings  of  skepticism  rose  to  a  chorus  of  outrage  when 
Leary  returned  to  Harvard  in  1960  from  his  pioneering  voyage 
into  inner  space— beside  the  swimming  pool  in  Cuernavaca—to 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  120 

begin  experimenting  on  himself,  his  associates  and  hundreds  of 
volunteer  subjects  with  measured  doses  of  psilocybin,  the  chem- 
ical derivative  of  the  sacred  mushrooms.  Vowing  "to  dedicate 
the  rest  of  my  life  as  a  psychologist  to  the  systematic  exploration 
of  this  new  instrument,"  he  and  his  rapidly  multiplying  fol- 
lowers began  to  turn  on  with  the  other  psychedelics:  morning- 
glory  seeds,  nutmeg,  marijuana,  peyote,  mescaline— and  a  color- 
less, odorless,  tasteless  but  incredibly  potent  laboratory  com- 
pound called  LSD  25,  first  synthesized  in  1938  by  a  Swiss 
biochemist  seeking  a  pain-killer  for  migraine  headaches.  A 
hundred  times  stronger  than  psilocybin,  LSD  sent  its  halluci- 
nated users  on  multihued,  multileveled  roller-coaster  rides  so 
spectacular  that  it  soon  became  Leary's  primary  tool  for  re- 
search. And  as  word  began  to  circulate  about  the  fantastic, 
phantasmagorical  "trips'*  taken  by  his  students,  it  soon  became 
a  clandestine  campus  kick  and  by  1962  had  become  an  under- 
ground cult  among  the  young  avant-garde  from  London  to  Los 

By  1963  it  had  also  become  something  of  an  embarrassment 
to  Harvard,  however,  which  "regretfully"  dismissed  Leary,  and 
his  colleague  Dr.  Richard  Alpert  in  order  to  stem  the  rising  tide 
of  avid  undergraduate  interest  in  the  drug.  Undaunted,  they 
organized  a  privately  financed  research  group  called  the  Inter- 
national Foundation  for  Internal  Freedom  (IFIF) ,  and  set  up  a 
psychedelic  study  center  in  Zihuatanejo,  Mexico,  but  before 
they  could  resume  full-scale  LSD  sessions,  the  Mexican  govern- 
ment stepped  in,  anticipating  adverse  popular  reaction,  and 
demanded  that  they  leave  the  country. 

Leary  had  now  become  not  only  the  messiah  but  the  martyr 
of  the  psychedelic  movement.  But  soon  afterward  came  a  dra- 
matic eleventh-hour  reprieve  from  a  young  New  York  million- 
aire named  William  Hitchcock,  a  veteran  LSD  voyager  who 
believed  in  the  importance  of  Leary's  work— by  now  a  mission— 
and  toward  that  end  turned  over  to  him  a  rambling  mansion  on 
his  4,000-acre  estate  in  Millbrook,  New  York,  which  has  since 
become  not  only  Leary's  home  and  headquarters  but  also  a  kind 
of  shrine  and  sanctuary  for  psychedelic  pilgrims  from  all  over 

She  Comes  In  Colors  [  121 

the  world.  On  April  16, 1966,  it  also  became  a  target  for  further 
harassment  by  what  Leary  calls  "the  forces  of  middle-aged,  mid- 
dle-class authority/*  Late  that  night,  a  squad  of  Dutchess  County 
police  descended  on  the  place,  searched  it  from  top  to  bottom, 
found  a  minute  quantity  of  marijuana,  and  arrested  four  people 
—including  Leary.  If  convicted,  he  could  be  fined  heavily  and 
sent  to  prison  for  16  years.  Already  appealing  another  convic- 
tion, Lsary  had  been  arrested  in  Laredo  the  previous  December 
as  he  was  about  to  enter  Mexico  for  a  vacation,  when  customs 
officials  searched  his  car  and  found  a  half  ounce  of  marijuana  in 
the  possession  of  his  eighteen-year-old  daughter.  Despite  his 
claim  that  the  drug  was  for  scientific  and  sacramental  use  in  the 
furtherance  of  his  work  and  his  spiritual  beliefs  {as  a  practicing 
Hindu) ,  he  was  fined  $30,000  and  sentenced  to  30  years  in 
prison  for  transporting  marijuana  and  failing  to  pay  the  federal 
marijuana  tax. 

In  the  months  since  then,  the  LSD  controversy  has  continued 
to  escalate  along  with  Leary's  notoriety— spurred  by  a  spate  of 
headline  stories  about  psychedelic  psychoses,  dire  warnings  of 
'Hnstant  insanity"  from  police  and  public  health  officials,  and 
'pious  editorials  inveighing  against  the  evils  of  the  drug.  In  May 
and  June,  two  Senate  subcommittees  conducted  widely  pub- 
licized public  hearings  on  LSD,  and  three  states— California, 
Nevada  and  New  Jersey— enacted  laws  prohibiting  its  illicit  use, 
possession,  distribution  or  manufacture.  With  a  ringing  appeal 
for  still  more  stringent  legislation  on  a  federal  level,  Ronald 
Reagan  even  dragged  the  issue  into  his  successful  campaign  for 
the  Republican  gubernatorial  nomination  in  California. 

It  was  amid  this  mounting  outcry  against  the  drug  that  Play- 
boy asked  Dr.  Leary  to  present  his  side  of  the  psychedelic  story— 
and  to  answer  a  few  pertinent  questions  about  its  putative 
promise  and  its  alleged  perils.  Consenting  readily,  he  invited  us 
to  visit  him  in  Millbrook,  where  we  found  him  a  few  days  later 
reciting  Hindu  morning  prayers  with  a  group  of  guests  in  the 
kitchen  of  the  64-room  mansion.  He  greeted  us  warmly  and  led 
the  way  to  a  third-floor  library.  Instead  of  sitting  down  in  one  of 
the  room's  well-worn  easy  chairs,  he  crossed  the  room,  stepped 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  122 

out  of  an  open  window  onto  a  tin  roof  over  a  second-floor  bay 
window,  and  proceeded  to  stretch  out  on  a  double-width  mat- 
tress a  few  feet  from  the  edge.  While  we  made  ourself  comfort- 
able at  the  other  end  of  the  mattress,  he  opened  his  shirt  to  the 
warm  summer  sun,  propped  his  bare  feet  against  the  shingles, 
looked  down  at  the  mansion's  vast  rolling  meadow  of  a  lawn, 
listened  for  a  moment  to  the  song  of  a  chickadee  in  the  branches 
of  a  tree  nearby,  and  then  turned,  ready  for  our  first  question. 

Playboy:  How  many  times  have  you  used  LSD,  Dr.  Leary? 

Leary:  Up  to  this  moment,  I've  had  311  psychedelic  sessions. 

Playboy:  What  do  you  think  it's  done  for  you— and  to  you? 

Leary:  That's  difficult  to  answer  easily.  Let  me  say  this:  I  was 
thirty-nine  when  I  had  my  first  psychedelic  experience.  At  that 
time,  I  was  a  middle-aged  man  involved  in  the  middle-aged 
process  of  dying.  My  joy  in  life,  my  sensual  openness,  my 
creativity  were  all  sliding  downhill.  Since  that  time,  six  years 
ago,  my  life  has  been  renewed  in  almost  every  dimension.  Most 
of  my  colleagues  at  the  University  of  California  and  at  Harvard, 
of  course,  feel  that  I've  become  an  eccentric  and  a  kook.  I  would 
estimate  that  fewer  than  15  percent  of  my  professional  col- 
leagues understand  and  support  what  I'm  doing.  The  ones  who 
do,  as  you  might  expect,  tend  to  be  among  the  younger  psychol- 
ogists. If  you  know  a  person's  age,  you  know  what  he's  going  to 
think  and  feel  about  LSD.  Psychedelic  drugs  are  the  medium  of 
the  young.  As  you  move  up  the  age  scale  into  the  thirties,  forties 
and  fifties,  fewer  and  fewer  people  are  open  to  the  possibilities 
that  these  chemicals  offer. 

Playboy:  Why  is  that? 

Leary:  To  the  person  over  thirty-five  or  forty,  the  word 
"drug"  means  one  of  two  things:  doctor-disease  or  dope  fiend- 
crime.  Nothing  you  can  say  to  a  person  who  has  this  neurologi- 
cal fix  on  the  word  "drug"  is  going  to  change  his  mind.  He's 
frozen  like  a  Pavlovian  dog  to  this  conditioned  reflex.  To 
people  under  twenty-five,  on  the  other  hand,  the  word  "drug" 
refers  to  a  wide  range  of  mind  benders  running  from  alcohol. 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  123 

energizers  and  stupefiers  to  marijuana  and  the  other  psychedelic 
drugs.  To  middle-aged  America,  it  may  be  synonymous  with 
instant  insanity,  but  to  most  Americans  under  twenty-five,  the 
psychedelic  drug  means  ecstasy,  sensual  unfolding,  religious 
experience,  revelation,  illumination,  contact  with  nature. 
There's  hardly  a  teen-ager  or  young  person  in  the  United  States 
today  who  doesn't  know  at  least  one  person  who  has  had  a  good 
experience  with  marijuana  or  LSD.  The  horizons  of  the  current 
younger  generation,  in  terms  of  expanded  consciousness,  are 
light-years  beyond  those  of  their  parents.  The  breakthrough 
has  occurred;  there's  no  going  back.  The  psychedelic  battle  is 

Playboy:  What  do  you  say  to  the  standard  charge  that  LSD  is 
too  powerful  and  dangerous  to  entrust  to  the  young? 

Leary:  Well,  none  of  us  yet  knows  exactly  how  LSD  can  be 
used  for  the  growth  and  benefit  of  the  human  being.  It  is  a 
powerful  releaser  of  energy  as  yet  not  fully  understood.  But  if 
I'm  confronted  with  the  possibility  that  a  fifteen-year-old  or  a 
fifty-year-old  is  going  to  use  a  new  form  of  energy  that  he 
doesn't  understand,  I'll  back  the  fifteen-year-old  every  time. 
Why?  Because  a  fifteen-year-old  is  going  to  use  a  new  form  of 
energy  to  have  fun,  to  intensify  sensation,  to  make  love,  for 
curiosity,  for  personal  growth.  Many  fifty-year-olds  have  lost 
their  curiosity,  have  lost  their  ability  to  make  love,  have  dulled 
their  openness  to  new  sensations,  and  would  use  any  form  of 
new  energy  for  power,  control  and  warfare.  So  it  doesn't  con- 
cern me  at  all  that  young  people  are  taking  time  out  from  the 
educational  and  occupational  assembly  lines  to  experiment  with 
consciousness,  to  dabble  with  new  forms  of  experience  and 
artistic  expression.  The  present  generation  under  the  age  of 
twenty-five  is  the  wisest  and  holiest  generation  that  the  human 
race  has  ever  seen.  And  by  God,  instead  of  lamenting,  derogat- 
ing and  imprisoning  them,  we  should  support  them,  listen  to 
them  and  turn  on  with  them. 

Playboy:  If  we  wanted  to  take  you  up  on  that  last  suggestion, 
how  would  we  go  about  it? 

Leary:  Find  a  beloved  friend  who  knows  where  to  get  LSD 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [124 

and  how  to  run  a  session,  or  find  a  trusted  and  experienced  LSD 
voyager  to  guide  you  on  a  trip. 

Playboy:  Is  it  necessary  to  have  a  guide? 

Leary:  Yes.  Unless  you  have  an  experienced  guide—at  least 
for  your  first  10  or  15  sessions— it  would  be  confusing. 

Playboy:  What  if  a  person  can't  find  either  a  guide  or  a 
source  of  LSD  among  his  friends?  Where  does  he  go? 

Leary:  LSD  is  against  the  law,  and  I  certainly  would  not 
advise  anyone  to  violate  the  law.  I  will  say  this,  however: 
Throughout  human  history,  men  who  have  wanted  to  expand 
their  consciousness,  to  find  deeper  meaning  inside  themselves, 
have  been  able  to  do  it  if  they  were  willing  to  commit  the  time 
and  energy  to  do  so.  In  other  times  and  countries,  men  would 
walk  barefooted  2,000  miles  to  find  spiritual  teachers  who 
would  turn  them  on  to  Buddha,  Mohammed  or  Ramakrishna. 

Playboy:  If  you  can't  say  where  one  could  buy  LSD,  can  you 
tell  us  the  formula  for  making  it?  We  understand  it  can  be 
synthesized  in  any  well-equipped  chemical  laboratory. 

Leary:  That's  true.  But  it  would  be  irresponsible  of  me  to 
reveal  it.  The  unauthorized  manufacture  of  LSD  is  now  against 
the  law. 

Playboy:  Assuming  you  can  get  it,  how  do  you  take  it?  Can  it 
be  injected,  or  is  it  mostly  just  swallowed  in  a  sugar  cube? 

Leary:  It  can  be  injected  or  it  can  come  in  the  form  of 
powder  or  pills  or  in  a  solution,  which  is  odorless,  tasteless  and 
colorless.  In  any  case,  you're  dealing  with  a  very  minute  quan- 
tity. One  hundred  micrograms  is  a  moderate  dose. 

Playboy:  For  a  session  lasting  how  long? 

Leary:  Eight  to  twelve  hours. 

Playboy:  What's  it  like?  What  happens  to  you? 

Leary:  If  we're  speaking  in  a  general  way,  what  happens  to 
everyone  is  the  experience  of  incredible  acceleration  and  inten- 
sification of  all  senses  and  of  all  mental  processes— which  can  be 
very  confusing  if  you're  not  prepared  for  it.  Around  a  thousand 
million  signals  fire  off  in  your  brain  every  second;  during  any 
second  in  an  LSD  session,  you  find  yourself  tuned  in  on  thou-- 
sands  of  these  messages  that  ordinarily  you  don't  register  con- 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  125 

sciously.  And  you  may  be  getting  an  incredible  number  of 
simultaneous  messages  from  different  parts  of  your  body.  Since 
you're  not  used  to  this,  it  can  lead  to  incredible  ecstasy  or  it  can 
lead  to  confusion.  Some  people  are  freaked  by  this  Niagara  of 
sensory  input.  Instead  of  having  just  one  or  two  or  three  things 
happening  in  tidy  sequence,  you're  suddenly  flooded  by  hun- 
dreds of  lights  and  colors  and  sensations  and  images,  and  you 
can  get  quite  lost. 

You  sense  a  strange  powerful  force  beginning  to  unloose  and 
radiate  through  your  body.  In  normal  perception,  we  are  aware 
of  static  symbols.  But  as  the  LSD  effect  takes  hold,  everything 
begins  to  move,  and  this  relentless,  impersonal,  slowly  swelling 
movement  will  continue  through  the  several  hours  of  the  ses- 
sion. It's  as  though  for  all  of  your  normal  waking  life  you  have 
been  caught  in  a  still  photograph,  in  an  awkward,  stereotyped 
posture;  suddenly  the  show  comes  alive,  balloons  out  to  several 
dimensions  and  becomes  irradiated  with  color  and  energy. 

The  first  thing  you  notice  is  an  incredible  enhancement  of 
sensory  awareness.  Take  the  sense  of  sight.  LSD  vision  is  to 
normal  vision  as  normal  vision  is  to  the  picture  on  a  badly 
tuned  television  set.  Under  LSD,  it's  as  though  you  have  micro- 
scopes up  to  your  eyes,  in  which  you  see  jewellike,  radiant 
details  of  anything  your  eye  falls  upon.  You  are  really  seeing  for 
the  first  time— not  static,  symbolic  perception  of  learned  things, 
but  patterns  of  light  bouncing  off  the  objects  around  you  and 
hurtling  at  the  speed  of  light  into  the  mosaic  of  rods  and  cones 
in  the  retina  of  your  eye.  Everything  seems  alive.  Everything  is 
alive,  beaming  diamond-bright  light  waves  into  your  retina. 

Playboy:  Is  the  sense  of  hearing  similarly  intensified? 

Leary:  Tremendously.  Ordinarily  we  hear  just  isolated 
sounds:  the  rings  of  a  telephone,  the  sound  of  somebody's 
words.  But  when  you  turn  on  with  LSD,  the  organ  of  Corti  in 
your  inner  ear  becomes  a  trembling  membrane  seething  with 
tattoos  of  sound  waves.  The  vibrations  seem  to  penetrate  deep 
inside  you,  swell  and  burst  there.  You  hear  one  note  of  a  Bach 
sonata,  and  it  hangs  there,  glittering,  pulsating,  for  an  endless 
length  of  time,  while  you  slowly  orbit  around  it.  Then,  hun- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  126 

dreds  of  years  later,  comes  the  second  note  of  the  sonata,  and 
again,  for  hundreds  of  years,  you  slowly  drift  around  the  two 
notes,  observing  the  harmony  and  the  discords,  and  reflecting 
on  the  history  of  music. 

But  when  your  nervous  system  is  turned  on  with  LSD,  and  all 
the  wires  are  flashing,  the  senses  begin  to  overlap  and  merge. 
You  not  only  hear  but  see  the  music  emerging  from  the  speaker 
system— like  dancing  particles,  like  squirming  curls  of  tooth- 
paste. You  actually  see  the  sound  in  multicolored  patterns  while 
you're  hearing  it.  At  the  same  time,  you  are  the  sound,  you  are 
the  note,  you  are  the  string  of  the  violin  or  the  piano.  And 
every  one  of  your  organs  is  pulsating  and  having  orgasms  in 
rhythm  with  it. 

Playboy:  What  happens  to  the  sense  of  taste? 

Leary:  Taste  is  intensified,  too,  although  normally  you  won't 
feel  like  eating  during  an  LSD  session,  any  more  than  you  feel 
like  eating  when  you  take  your  first  solo  at  the  controls  of  a 
supersonic  jet.  Although  if  you  eat  after  a  session,  there  is  an 
appreciation  of  all  the  particular  qualities  of  food— its  texture 
and  resiliency  and  viscosity— such  as  we  are  not  conscious  of  in  a 
normal  state  of  awareness. 

Playboy:  How  about  the  sense  of  smell? 

Leary:  This  is  one  of  the  most  overwhelming  aspects  of  an 
LSD  experience.  It  seems  as  though  for  the  first  time  you  are 
breathing  life,  and  you  remember  with  amusement  and  distaste 
that  plastic,  odorless,  artificial  gas  that  you  used  to  consider  air. 
During  the  LSD  experience,  you  discover  that  you're  actually 
inhaling  an  atmosphere  composed  of  millions  of  microscopic 
strands  of  olfactory  ticker  tape,  exploding  in  your  nostrils  with 
ecstatic  meaning.  When  you  sit  across  the  room  from  a  woman 
during  an  LSD  session,  you're  aware  of  thousands  of  penetrat- 
ing chemical  messages  floating  from  her  through  the  air  into 
your  sensory  center:  a  symphony  of  a  thousand  odors  that  all  of 
us  exude  at  every  moment— the  shampoo  she  uses,  her  cologne, 
her  sweat,  the  exhaust  and  discharge  from  her  digestive  system, 
her  sexual  perfume,  the  fragrance  of  her  clothing— grenades  of 
eroticism  exploding  in  the  olfactory  cell. 

She  Comes  In  Colors  [  127 

Playboy:  Does  the  sense  of  touch  become  equally  erotic? 

Leary:  Touch  becomes  electric  as  well  as  erotic.  I  remember 
a  moment  during  one  session  in  which  Rosemary  leaned  over 
and  lightly  touched  the  palm  of  my  hand  with  her  finger. 
Immediately  a  hundred  thousand  end  cells  in  my  hand  ex- 
ploded in  soft  orgasm.  Ecstatic  energies  pulsated  up  my  arms 
and  rocketed  into  my  brain,  where  another  hundred  thousand 
cells  softly  exploded  in  pure,  delicate  pleasure.  The  distance 
between  my  wife's  finger  and  the  palm  of  my  hand  was  about  50 
miles  of  space,  filled  with  cotton  candy,  infiltrated  with  thou- 
sands of  silver  wires  hurtling  energy  back  and  forth.  Wave  after 
waver  of  exquisite  energy  pulsed  from  her  finger.  Wave  upon 
wave  of  ethereal  tissue  rapture— delicate,  shuddering— coursed 
back  and  forth  from  her  finger  to  my  palm. 

Playboy:  And  this  rapture  was  erotic? 

Leary:  Transcendentally.  An  enormous  amount  of  energy 
from  every  fiber  of  your  body  is  released  under  LSD— most  espe- 
cially including  sexual  energy.  There  is  no  question  that  LSD  is 
the  most  powerful  aphrodisiac  ever  discovered  by  man. 

Playboy:  Would  you  elaborate? 

Leary:  I'm  saying  simply  that  sex  under  LSD  becomes  mi- 
raculously enhanced  and  intensified.  I  don't  mean  that  it  simply 
generates  genital  energy.  It  doesn't  automatically  produce  a 
longer  erection.  Rather,  it  increases  your  sensitivity  a  thousand 
percent.  Let  me  put  it  this  way:  Compared  with  sex  under  LSD, 
the  way  you've  been  making  love— no  matter  how  ecstatic  the 
pleasure  you  think  you  get  from  it— is  like  making  love  to  a 
department-store-window  dummy.  In  sensory  and  cellular  com- 
munion on  LSD,  you  may  spend  a  half  hour  making  love  with 
eyeballs,  another  half  hour  making  love  with  breath.  As  you 
spin  through  a  thousand  sensory  and  cellular  organic  changes, 
she  does,  too.  Ordinarily,  sexual  communication  involves  one's 
own  chemicals,  pressure  and  interactions  of  a  very  localized 
nature— in  what  the  psychologists  call  the  erogenous  zones.  A 
vulgar,  dirty  concept,  I  think.  When  you're  making  love  under 
LSD,  it's  as  though  every  cell  in  your  body— and  you  have  tril- 
lions—is making  love  with  every  cell  in  her  body.  Your  hand 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  128 

doesn't  caress  her  skin  but  sinks  down  into  and  merges  with 
ancient  dynamos  of  ecstasy  within  her. 

Playboy:  How  often  have  you  made  love  under  the  influence 
of  LSD? 

Leary:  Every  time  I've  taken  it.  In  fact,  that  is  what  the  LSD 
experience  is  all  about.  Merging,  yielding,  flowing,  union,  com- 
munion. It's  all  lovemaking.  You  make  love  with  candlelight, 
with  sound  waves  from  a  record  player,  with  a  bowl  of  fruit  on 
the  table,  with  the  trees.  You're  in  pulsating  harmony  with  all 
the  energy  around  you. 

Playboy:  Including  that  of  a  woman? 

Leary:  The  three  inevitable  goals  of  the  LSD  session  are  to 
discover  and  make  love  with  God,  to  discover  and  make  love 
with  yourself,  and  to  discover  and  make  love  with  a  woman. 
You  can't  make  it  with  yourself  unless  you've  made  it  with  the 
timeless  energy  process  around  you,  and  you  can't  make  it  with 
a  woman  until  you've  made  it  with  yourself.  The  natural  and 
obvious  way  to  take  LSD  is  with  a  member  of  the  opposite  sex, 
and  an  LSD  session  that  does  not  involve  an  ultimate  merging 
with  a  person  of  the  opposite  sex  isn't  really  complete.  One  of 
the  great  purposes  of  an  LSD  session  is  sexual  union.  The  more 
expanded  your  consciousness— the  farther  out  you  can  move 
beyond  your  mind— the  deeper,  the  richer,  the  longer  and  more 
meaningful  your  sexual  communion. 

Playboy:  We've  heard  about  sessions  in  which  couples  make 
love  for  hours  on  end,  to  the  point  of  exhaustion,  but  never 
seem  to  reach  exhaustion.  Is  this  true? 

Leary:  Yup. 

Playboy:  Can  you  describe  the  sensation  of  an  orgasm  under 

Leary:  Only  the  most  reckless  poet  would  attempt  that.  I 
have  to  say  to  you,  "What  does  one  say  to  a  little  child?"  The 
child  asks,  "Daddy,  what  is  sex  like?"  and  you  try  to  describe  it, 
and  then  the  little  child  says,  "Well,  is  it  fun  like  the  circus?'* 
and  you  say,  "Well,  not  exactly  like  that."  And  the  child  says, 
"Is  it  fun  like  chocolate  ice  cream?"  and  you  say,  "Well,  it's  like 
that  but  much,  much  more  than  that."  And  the  child  says,  "Is  it 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  129 

fun  like  the  roller  coaster,  then?"  and  you  say,  "Well,  that's  part 
of  it,  but  it's  even  more  than  that."  In  short,  I  can't  tell  you 
what  it's  like,  because  it's  not  like  anything  that's  ever  hap 
pened  to  you— and  there  aren't  words  adequate  to  describe  it, 
anyway.  You  won't  know  what  it's  like  until  you  try  it  yourself 
and  then  I  won't  need  to  tell  you. 

Playboy:  We've  heard  that  some  women  who  ordinarily  have 
difficulty  achieving  orgasm  find  themselves  capable  of  multiple 
orgasms  under  LSD.  Is  that  true? 

Leary:  In  a  carefully  prepared,  loving  LSD  session,  a  woman 
can  have  several  hundred  orgasms. 

Playboy:  Several  hundred? 

Leary:  Yes.  Several  hundred. 

Playboy:  What  about  a  man? 

Leary:  This  preoccupation  with  the  number  of  orgasms  is  a 
hang-up  for  many  men  and  women.  It's  as  crude  and  vulgar  a 
concept  as  wondering  how  much  she  paid  for  the  negligee. 

Playboy:  Still,  there  must  be  some  sort  of  physiological 
comparison.  If  a  woman  can  have  several  hundred  orgasms,  how 
many  can  a  man  have  under  optimum  conditions? 

Leary:  It  would  depend  entirely  on  the  amount  of  sexual— 
and  psychedelic— experience  the  man  has  had.  I  can  speak  only 
for  myself  and  about  my  own  experience.  I  can  only  compare 
what  I  was  with  what  I  am  now.  In  the  last  six  years,  my 
openness  to,  my  responsiveness  to,  my  participation  in  every 
form  of  sensory  expression,  has  multiplied  a  thousandfold. 

Playboy:  This  aspect  of  LSD  has  been  hinted  at  privately 
but  never  spelled  out  in  public  until  now.  Why? 

Leary:  The  sexual  impact  is,  of  course,  the  open  but  private 
secret  about  LSD,  which  none  of  us  has  talked  about  in  the  last 
few  years.  It's  socially  dangerous  enough  to  say  that  LSD  helps 
you  find  divinity  and  helps  you  discover  yourself.  You're  al- 
ready in  trouble  when  you  say  that.  But  then  if  you  announce 
that  the  psychedelic  experience  is  basically  a  sexual  experience, 
you're  asking  to  bring  the  whole  middle-aged,  middle-class 
monolith  down  on  your  head.  At  the  present  time,  however, 
I'm  under  a  thirty-year  sentence  of  imprisonment,  which  for  a 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  130 

forty-five-year-old  man  is  essentially  a  life  term,  and  in  addition, 
I  am  under  indictment  on  a  second  marijuana  offense  involving 
a  16-year  sentence.  Since  there  is  hardly  anything  more  that 
middle-aged,  middle-class  authority  can  do  to  me— and  since  the 
secret  is  out  anyway  among  the  young— I  feel  I'm  free  at  this 
moment  to  say  what  we've  never  said  before:  that  sexual  ecstasy 
is  the  basic  reason  for  the  current  LSD  boom.  When  Dr. 
Goddard,  the  head  of  the  Food  and  Drug  Administration, 
announced  in  a  Senate  hearing  that  10  percent  of  our  college 
students  are  taking  LSD,  did  you  ever  wonder  why?  Sure, 
they're  discovering  God  and  meaning;  sure,  they're  discovering 
themselves;  but  did  you  really  think  that  sex  wasn't  the  funda- 
mental reason  for  this  surging,  youthful  social  boom?  You  can 
no  more  do  research  on  LSD  and  leave  out  sexual  ecstasy  than 
you  can  do  microscopic  research  on  tissue  and  leave  out  cells. 

LSD  is  not  an  automatic  trigger  to  sexual  awakening,  how- 
ever. The  first  10  times  you  take  it,  you  might  not  be  able  to 
have  a  sexual  experience  at  all,  because  you're  so  overwhelmed 
and  delighted— or  frightened  and  confused— by  the  novelty;  the 
idea  of  having  sex  might  be  irrelevant  or  incomprehensible  at 
the  moment.  But  it  depends  upon  the  setting  and  the  partner. 
It  is  almost  inevitable,  if  a  man  and  his  mate  take  LSD  together, 
that  their  sexual  energies  will  be  unimaginably  intensified,  and 
unless  clumsiness  or  fright  on  the  part  of  one  or  the  other  blocks 
it,  it  will  lead  to  a  deeper  experience  than  they  ever  thought 

From  the  beginning  of  our  research,  I  have  been  aware  of  this 
tremendous  personal  power  in  LSD.  You  must  be  very  careful 
to  take  it  only  with  someone  you  know  really  well,  because  it's 
almost  inevitable  that  a  woman  will  fall  in  love  with  the  man 
who  shares  her  LSD  experience.  Deep  and  lasting  neurological 
imprints,  profound  emotional  bonds,  can  develop  as  a  result  of 
an  LSD  session— bonds  that  can  last  a  lifetime.  For  this  reason,  I 
have  always  been  extremely  cautious  about  running  sessions 
with  men  and  women.  We  always  try  to  have  a  subject's  hus- 
band or  wife  present  during  his  or  her  first  session,  so  that  as 
(these  powerful  urges  develop,  they  are  directed  in  ways  that  can 
be  lived  out  responsibly  after  the  session. 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  131 

Playboy:  Are  you  preaching  psychedelic  monogamy? 

Leary:  Well,  I  can't  generalize,  but  one  of  the  great  lessons 
I've  learned  from  LSD  is  that  every  man  contains  the  essence  of 
all  men  and  every  woman  has  within  her  all  women.  I  remem- 
ber a  session  a  few  years  ago  in  which,  with  horror  and  ecstasy,  I 
opened  my  eyes  and  looked  into  Rosemary's  eyes  and  was  pulled 
into  the  deep  pools  of  her  being  floating  softly  in  the  center  of 
her  mind,  experiencing  everything  that  she  was  experiencing, 
knowing  every  thought  that  she  had  ever  had.  As  my  eyes  were 
riveted  to  hers,  her  face  began  to  melt  and  change.  I  saw  her  as  a 
young  girl,  as  a  baby,  as  an  old  woman  with  gray  hair  and 
seamy,  wrinkled  face.  I  saw  her  as  a  witch,  a  madonna,  a 
nagging  crone,  a  radiant  queen,  a  Byzantine  virgin,  a  tired, 
worldly-wise  oriental  whore  who  had  seen  every  sight  of  life 
repeated  a  thousand  times.  She  was  all  women,  all  woman,  the 
essence  of  female— eyes  smiling,  quizzically,  resignedly,  devil- 
ishly, always  inviting:  "See  me,  hear  me,  join  me,  merge  with 
me,  keep  the  dance  going."  Now  the  implications  of  this  experi- 
ence for  sex  and  mating,  I  think,  are  obvious.  It's  because  of 
this,  not  because  of  moral  restrictions  or  restraints,  that  I've 
been  extremely  monogamous  in  my  use  of  LSD  over  the  last  six 

Playboy:  When  you  speak  of  monogamy,  do  you  mean 
complete  sexual  fidelity  to  one  woman? 

Leary:  Well,  the  notion  of  running  around  trying  to  find 
different  mates  is  a  very  low-level  concept.  We  are  living  in  a 
world  of  expanding  population  in  which  there  are  more  and 
more  beautiful  young  girls  coming  off  the  assembly  line  each 
month.  It's  obvious  that  the  sexual  criteria  of  the  past  are  going 
to  be  changed,  and  that  what's  demanded  of  creatures  with  our 
sensory  and  cellular  repertoire  is  not  just  one  affair  after  an- 
other with  one  young  body  after  another,  but  the  exploration  of 
the  incredible  depths  and  varieties  of  your  own  identity  with  a 
single  member  of  the  opposite  sex.  This  involves  time  and 
commitment  to  the  voyage.  .  .  .  There  is  a  certain  kind  of 
neurological  and  cellular  fidelity  that  develops.  I  have  said  for 
many  years  now  that  in  the  future  the  grounds  for  divorce 
would  not  be  that  your  wife  went  to  bed  with  another  man  and 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  152 

bounced  around  on  a  mattress  for  an  hour  or  two,  but  that  your 
wife  had  an  LSD  session  with  somebody  else,  because  the  bonds 
and  the  connections  that  develop  are  so  powerful. 

Playboy:  It's  been  reported  that  when  you  are  in  the  com- 
pany of  women,  quite  a  lot  of  them  turn  on  to  you.  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  a  friend  of  yours  told  us  that  you  could  have  two  or 
three  different  women  every  night  if  you  wanted  to.  Is  he  right? 

Leary:  For  the  most  part,  during  the  last  six  years,  I  have 
lived  very  quietly  in  our  research  centers.  But  on  lecture  tours 
and  in  highly  enthusiastic  social  gatherings,  there  is  no  question 
that  a  charismatic  public  figure  does  generate  attraction  and 
stimulate  a  sexual  response. 

Playboy:  How  often  do  you  return  this  response? 

Leary:  Every  woman  has  built  into  her  cells  and  tissues  the 
longing  for  a  hero,  sage-mythic  male,  to  open  up  and  share  her 
own  divinity.  But  casual  sexual  encounters  do  not  satisfy  this 
deep  longing.  Any  charismatic  person  who  is  conscious  of  his 
own  mythic  potency  awakens  this  basic  hunger  in  women  and 
pays  reverence  to  it  at  the  level  that  is  harmonious  and  appro- 
priate at  the  time.  Compulsive  body  grabbing,  however,  is 
rarely  the  vehicle  of  such  communication. 

Playboy:  Do  you  disapprove  of  the  idea  of  casual  romance- 
catalyzed  by  LSD? 

Leary:  Well,  I'm  no  one  to  tell  anyone  else  what  to  do.  But  I 
would  say,  if  you  use  LSD  to  make  out  sexually  in  the  seductive 
sense,  then  you'll  be  a  very  humiliated  and  embarrassed  person, 
because  it's  just  not  going  to  work.  On  LSD,  her  eyes  would  be 
microscopic,  and  she'd  see  very  plainly  what  you  were  up  to, 
coming  on  with  some  heavy-handed,  moustache-twisting  rou- 
tine. You'd  look  like  a  consummate  ass,  and  she'd  laugh  at  you, 
or  you'd  look  like  a  monster  and  she'd  scream  and  go  into  a 
paranoid  state.  Nothing  good  can  happen  with  LSD  if  it's  used 
crudely  or  for  power  or  manipulative  purposes. 

Playboy:  Suppose  you  met  a  girl  at  a  party,  developed  an 
immediate  rapport,  and  you  both  decided  to  share  an  LSD  trip 
that  same  night.  Could  it  work  under  those  circumstances? 

Leary:  You  must  remember  that  in  taking  LSD  with  some- 

She  Comes  In  Colors  [  133 

one  else,  you  are  voluntarily  relinquishing  all  of  your  person- 
ality defenses  and  opening  yourself  up  in  a  very  vulnerable 
manner.  If  you  and  the  girl  are  ready  to  do  this,  there  would  be 
an  immediate  and  deep  rapport  if  you  took  a  trip  together. 
People  from  the  LSD  cult  would  be  able  to  do  it  upon  a  brief 
meeting,  but  an  inexperienced  person  would  probably  find  it 
extremely  confusing,  and  the  people  might  become  quite  iso- 
lated from  each  other.  They  might  be  whirled  into  the  rapture 
or  confusion  of  their  own  inner  workings  and  forget  entirely 
that  the  other  person  is  there. 

Playboy:  According  to  some  reports,  LSD  can  trigger  the 
acting  out  of  latent  homosexual  impulses  in  ostensibly  hetero- 
sexual men  and  women.  Is  there  any  truth  to  that,  in  your 

Leary:  On  the  contrary,  the  fact  is  that  LSD  is  a  specific  cure 
for  homosexuality.  It's  well  known  that  most  sexual  perversions 
are  the  result  not  of  biological  binds  but  of  freaky,  dislocating 
childhood  experiences  of  one  kind  or  another.  Consequently, 
it's  not  surprising  that  we've  had  many  cases  of  long-term 
homosexuals  who,  under  LSD,  discover  that  they  are  not  only 
genitally  but  genetically  male,  that  they  are  basically  attracted 
to  females.  The  most  famous  and  public  of  such  cases  is  that  of 
Allen  Ginsberg,  who  has  openly  stated  that  the  first  time  he 
turned  on  to  women  was  during  an  LSD  session  several  years 
ago.  But  this  is  only  one  of  many  such  cases. 

Playboy:  Has  this  happened  with  Lesbians? 

Leary:  I  was  just  going  to  cite  such  a  case.  An  extremely 
attractive  girl  came  down  to  our  training  center  in  Mexico.  She 
was  a  Lesbian  and  she  was  very  active  sexually,  but  all  of  her 
energy  was  devoted  to  making  it  with  girls.  She  was  at  an  LSD 
session  at  one  of  our  cottages  and  went  down  to  the  beach  and 
saw  this  young  man  in  a  bathing  suit  and— flash!— for  the  first 
time  in  her  life  the  cellular  electricity  was  flowing  in  her  body 
and  it  bridged  the  gap.  Her  subsequent  sexual  choices  were 
almost  exclusively  members  of  the  opposite  sex. 

For  the  same  reasons,  LSD  is  also  a  powerful  panacea  for 
impotence  and  frigidity,  both  of  which,  like  homosexuality,  are 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  134 

symbolic  screw-ups.  The  LSD  experience  puts  you  in  touch 
with  the  wisdom  of  your  body,  of  your  nervous  system,  of  your 
cells,  of  your  organs.  And  the  closer  you  get  to  the  message  of 
the  body,  the  more  obvious  it  becomes  that  it's  constructed  and 
designed  to  procreate  and  keep  the  life  stream  going.  When 
you're  confronted  with  this  basic  cellular  fact  under  LSD,  you 
realize  that  your  impotency,  or  your  frigidity,  is  caused  by 
neuropsychological  hang-ups  of  fear  or  shame  that  make  no 
sense  to  your  cells,  that  have  nothing  to  do  with  the  biochemical 
forces  inside  your  body  urging  you  to  merge  and  mate  with  a 
member  of  the  opposite  sex. 

Playboy:  Does  LSD  always  work  as  a  sexual  cure-all? 

Leary:  Certainly  not.  LSD  is  no  guarantee  of  any  specific 
social  or  sexual  outcome.  One  man  may  take  LSD  and  leave 
wife  and  family  and  go  off  to  be  a  monk  on  the  banks  of  the 
Ganges.  Another  may  take  LSD  and  go  hack  to  his  wife.  It's  a 
highly  individual  situation.  Highly  unpredictable.  During  LSD 
sessions,  you  see,  there  can  come  a  microscopic  perception  of 
your  routine  social  and  professional  life.  You  may  discover  to 
your  horror  that  you're  living  a  robot  existence,  that  your  rela- 
tionships with  your  boss,  your  wife  and  your  family  are  stereo- 
typed, empty  and  devoid  of  meaning.  At  this  point,  there  might 
come  a  desire  to  renounce  this  hollow  existence,  to  collect  your 
thoughts,  to  go  away  and  cloister  yourself  from  the  world  like  a 
monk  while  you  figure  out  what  kind  of  a  life  you  want  to  go 
back  to,  if  any. 

Conversely,  we've  found  that  in  giving  LSD  to  members  of 
monastic  sects,  there  has  been  a  definite  tendency  for  them  to 
leave  the  monastic  life  and  to  find  a  mating  relationship.  Sev- 
eral were  men  in  their  late  forties  who  had  been  monks  for  15 
or  20  years,  but  who  even  at  this  mature  age  returned  to  society, 
married  and  made  the  heterosexual  adjustment.  It's  not  coinci- 
dental that  of  all  those  I've  given  LSD  to,  the  religious  group- 
more  than  200  ministers,  priests,  divinity  students  and  nuns- 
has  experienced  the  most  intense  sexual  reaction.  And  in  two 
religious  groups  that  prize  chastity  and  celibacy,  there  have 
been  wholesale  defections  of  monks  and  nuns  who  left  their 

She  Comes  In  Colors  [  135 

religious  orders  to  get  married  after  a  series  of  LSD  experiences. 
The  LSD  session,  you  see,  is  an  overwhelming  awakening  of 
experience;  it  releases  potent,  primal  energies,  and  one  of  these 
is  the  sexual  impulse,  which  is  the  strongest  impulse  at  any  level 
of  organic  life.  For  the  first  time  in  their  lives,  perhaps,  these 
people  were  meeting  head  on  the  powerful  life  forces  that  they 
had  walled  off  with  ritualized  defenses  and  self-delusions. 

Playboy:  A  great  deal  of  what  is  said  about  LSD  by  its 
proponents,  including  you,  has  been  couched  in  terms  of  reli- 
gious mysticism.  You  spoke  earlier,  in  fact,  of  discovering 
"divinity"  through  LSD.  In  what  way  is  the  LSD  experience 

Leary:  It  depends  on  what  you  mean  by  religion.  For  almost 
everyone,  the  LSD  experience  is  a  confrontation  with  new 
forms  of  wisdom  and  energy  that  dwarf  and  humiliate  man's 
mind.  This  experience  of  awe  and  revelation  is  often  described 
as  religious.  I  consider  my  work  basically  religious,  because  it 
has  as  its  goal  the  systematic  expansion  of  consciousness  and  the 
discovery  of  energies  within,  which  men  call  "divine."  From  the 
psychedelic  point  of  view,  almost  all  religions  are  attempts— 
sometimes  limited  temporally  or  nationally— to  discover  the 
inner  potential.  Well,  LSD  is  Western  yoga.  The  aim  of  all 
Eastern  religion,  like  the  aim  of  LSD,  is  basically  to  get  high: 
that  is,  to  expand  your  consciousness  and  find  ecstasy  and 
revelation  within. 

Playboy:  Dr.  Gerald  Klee,  of  the  National  Institute  of  Men- 
tal Health,  has  written:  "Those  who  say  LSD  expands  con- 
sciousness would  have  the  task  of  defining  the  terms.  By  any 
conventional  definition,  I  don't  think  it  does  expand  the  con- 
sciousness." What  do  you  think? 

Leary:  Well,  he's  using  the  narrow,  conventional  definition 
of  consciousness  that  psychiatrists  have  been  taught:  that  there 
are  two  levels  of  consciousness— sleep  and  symbolic  normal 
awareness.  Anything  else  is  insanity.  So  by  conventional  defini- 
tion, LSD  does  not  expand  symbolic  consciousness;  thus,  it 
creates  psychosis.  In  terms  of  his  conventional  symbol  game.  Dr. 
Klee  is  right.  My  contention  is  that  his  definition  is  too  narrow. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  136 

that  it  comes  from  a  deplorable,  primitive  and  superstitious 
system  of  consciousness.  My  system  of  consciousness— attested  to 
by  the  experience  of  hundreds  of  thousands  of  trained  voyagers 
who've  taken  LSD— defines  seven  different  levels  of  awareness. 

Playboy:  What  are  they? 

Leary:  The  lowest  levels  of  consciousness  are  sleep  and  stu- 
por, which  are  produced  by  narcotics,  barbiturates  and  our 
national  stupefacient,  alcohol.  A  third  level  of  consciousness 
is  the  conventional  wakeful  state,  in  which  awareness  is  hooked 
to  conditioned  symbols:  flags,  dollar  signs,  job  titles,  brand 
names,  party  affiliations  and  the  like.  This  is  the  level  that  most 
people,  including  psychiatrists,  regard  as  reality;  they  don't 
know  the  half  of  it.  The  next  two  levels  of  awareness,  somatic 
and  sensory,  would,  I  think,  be  of  particular  interest  to  Play- 
boy readers,  because  most  of  them  are  of  the  younger  genera- 
tion, which  is  much  more  sensual  than  the  puritanical 
Americans  of  the  older  generation.  In  order  to  reach  the  somatic 
and  sensory  levels,  you  have  to  have  something  that  will  turn 
off  symbols  and  open  up  your  billions  of  sensory  cameras 
to  the  billions  of  impulses  that  are  hitting  them.  The  chemical 
that  opens  the  door  to  this  level  has  been  well  known  for 
centuries  to  cultures  that  stress  delicate,  sensitive  registration 
of  sensory  stimulation:  the  Arab  cultures,  the  Indian  cul- 
tures, the  Mogul  cultures.  It  is  marijuana.  There  is  no  ques- 
tion that  marijuana  is  a  sensual  stimulator— and  this  explains 
not  only  why  it's  favored  by  young  people  but  why  it  arouses 
fear  and  panic  among  the  middle-aged,  middle-class,  whiskey- 
drinking,  bluenosed  bureaucrats  who  run  the  narcotics  agen- 
cies. If  they  only  knew  what  they  were  missing. 

But  we  must  bid  a  sad  farewell  to  the  bodily  levels  of 
consciousness  and  go  on  to  the  sixth  level,  which  I  call  the 
cellular  level.  It's  well  known  that  the  stronger  psychedelics 
such  as  mescaline  and  LSD  take  you  beyond  the  senses  into  a 
world  of  cellular  awareness.  Now  the  neurological  fact  of  the 
matter  is  that  every  one  of  your  13  billion  brain  cells  is  hooked 
up  to  some  25,000  other  cells,  and  everything  you  know  comes 
from  a  communication  exchange  at  the  nerve  endings  of  your 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  137 

cells.  During  an  LSD  session,  enormous  clusters  of  these  cells 
are  turned  on,  and  consciousness  whirls  into  eerie  panoramas 
for  which  we  have  no  words  or  concepts.  Here  the  metaphor 
that's  most  accurate  is  the  metaphor  of  the  microscope,  which 
brings  into  awareness  cellular  patterns  that  are  invisible  to  the 
naked  eye.  In  the  same  way,  LSD  brings  into  awareness  the 
cellular  conversations  that  are  inaudible  to  the  normal  con- 
sciousness and  for  which  we  have  no  adequate  symbolic  lan- 
guage. You  become  aware  of  processes  you  were  never  tuned  in 
to  before.  You  feel  yourself  sinking  down  into  the  soft  tissue 
swamp  of  your  own  body,  slowly  drifting  down  dark  red  water- 
ways and  floating  through  capillary  canals,  softly  propelled 
through  endless  cellular  factories,  ancient  fibrous  clockworks- 
ticking,  clicking,  chugging,  pumping  relentlessly.  Being  swal- 
lowed up  this  way  by  the  tissue  industries  and  the  bloody, 
sinewy  carryings-on  inside  your  body  can  be  an  appalling  ex- 
perience the  first  time  it  happens  to  you.  But  it  can  also  be  an 
awesome  one— fearful,  but  full  of  reverence  and  wonder. 

Playboy:  Is  there  more? 

Leary:  Yes,  and  this  level  is  even  more  strange  and  terrify- 
ing. This  is  the  precellular  level,  which  is  experienced  only 
under  a  heavy  dosage  of  LSD.  Your  nerve  cells  are  aware— as 
Professor  Einstein  was  aware— that  all  matter,  all  structure,  is 
pulsating  energy;  well,  there  is  a  shattering  moment  in  the  deep 
psychedelic  session  when  your  body,  and  the  world  around  you, 
dissolves  into  shimmering  latticeworks  of  pulsating  white  waves, 
into  silent,  subcellular  worlds  of  shuttling  energy.  But  this 
phenomenon  is  nothing  new.  It's  been  reported  by  mystics  and 
visionaries  throughout  the  last  4,000  years  of  recorded  history  as 
"the  white  light"  or  the  "dance  of  energy."  Suddenly  you 
realize  that  everything  you  thought  of  as  reality  or  even  as  life 
itself— including  your  body— is  just  a  dance  of  particles.  You  find 
yourself  horribly  alone  in  a  dead,  impersonal  world  of  raw 
energy  feeding  on  your  sense  organs.  This,  of  course,  is  one  of 
the  oldest  oriental  philosophic  notions,  that  nothing  exists 
except  in  the  chemistry  of  your  own  consciousness.  But  when  it 
first  really  happens  to  you  through  the  experience  of  LSD,  it 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  138 

can  come  as  a  terrorizing,  isolating  discovery.  At  this  point,  the 
unprepared  LSD  subject  often  screams  out:  "I'm  dead!"  And  he 
sits  there  transfigured  with  fear,  afraid  to  move.  For  the  experi- 
enced voyager,  however,  this  revelation  can  be  exalting:  You've 
climbed  inside  Einstein's  formula,  penetrated  to  the  ultimate 
nature  of  matter,  and  you're  pulsing  in  harmony  with  its 
primal,  cosmic  beat. 

Playboy:  Has  this  happened  to  you  often  during  a  session? 

Leary:  It's  happened  to  me  about  half  of  the  311  times  I've 
taken  LSD.  And  every  time  it  begins  to  happen,  no  matter  how 
much  experience  you've  had,  there  is  that  moment  of  terror— 
because  nobody  likes  to  see  the  comfortable  world  of  objects 
and  symbols  and  even  cells  disintegrate  into  the  ultimate  physi- 
cal design. 

Playboy:  Do  you  think  there  may  be  a  deeper  level  of 
consciousness  beyond  the  precellular? 

Leary:  I  hope  so.  We  know  that  there  are  many  other  levels 
of  energy  within  and  around  us,  and  I  hope  that  within  our 
lifetimes  we  will  have  these  opened  up  to  us,  because  the  fact  is 
that  there  is  no  form  of  energy  on  this  planet  that  isn't  recorded 
somewhere  in  your  body.  Built  within  every  cell  are  molecular 
strands  of  memory  and  awareness  called  the  DNA  code— the 
genetic  blueprint  that  has  designed  and  executed  the  construc- 
tion of  your  body.  This  is  an  ancient  strand  of  molecules  that 
possesses  memories  of  every  previous  organism  that  has  con- 
tributed to  your  present  existence.  In  your  DNA  code  you  have 
the  genetic  history  of  your  father  and  mother.  It  goes  back, 
back,  back  through  the  generations,  through  the  eons.  Your 
body  carries  a  protein  record  of  everything  that's  happened  to 
you  since  the  moment  you  were  conceived  as  a  one-cell  orga- 
nism. It's  a  living  history  of  every  form  of  energy  transforma- 
tion on  this  planet  back  to  that  thunderbolt  in  the  Precambrian 
mud  that  spawned  the  life  process  over  two  billion  years  ago. 
When  LSD  subjects  report  retrogression  and  reincarnation 
visions,  this  is  not  mysterious  or  supernatural.  It's  simply  mod- 
ern biogenetics. 

Playboy:  Tell  us  more  about  these  visions. 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  139 

Leary:  Well,  we  don't  know  how  these  memories  are  stored, 
but  countless  events  from  early  and  even  intrauterine  life  are 
registered  in  your  brain  and  can  be  flashed  into  consciousness 
during  an  LSD  experience. 

Playboy:  Do  you  merely  remember  them,  or  do  you  actually 
relive  them? 

Leary:  The  experiences  that  come  from  LSD  are  actually 
relived— in  sight,  sound,  smell,  taste  and  touch— exactly  the  way 
they  happened  before. 

Playboy:  If  it's  an  experience  from  very  early  life,  how  can 
you  be  sure  it's  a  true  memory  rather  than  a  vivid  hallucination? 

Leary:  It's  possible  to  check  out  some  of  these  ancient 
memories,  but  for  the  most  part  these  memory  banks,  which  are 
built  into  your  protein  cellular  strands,  can  never  be  checked 
on  by  external  observation.  Who  can  possibly  corroborate  what 
your  nervous  system  picked  up  before  your  birth,  inside  your 
mother?  But  the  obvious  fact  is  that  your  nervous  system  was 
operating  while  you  were  still  in  the  uterus.  It  was  receiving 
and  recording  units  of  consciousness.  Why,  then,  is  it  surprising 
that  at  some  later  date,  if  you  have  the  chemical  key,  you  can 
release  these  memories  of  the  nine  perilous  and  exciting  months 
before  you  were  born? 

Playboy:  Can  these  memory  visions  be  made  selective?  Is  it 
possible  to  travel  back  in  time  at  will? 

Leary:  Yes,  it  is.  That  happens  to  be  the  particular  project 
that  I've  been  working  on  most  recently  with  LSD.  I've  charted 
my  own  family  tree  and  traced  it  back  as  far  as  I  can.  I've  tried 
to  plumb  the  gene  pools  from  which  my  ancestors  emerged  in 
Ireland  and  France. 

Playboy:  With  what  success? 

Leary:  Well,  there  are  certain  moments  in  my  evolutionary 
history  that  I  can  reach  all  the  time,  but  there  are  certain  untidy 
comers  in  my  racial  path  that  I  often  get  boxed  into,  and  be- 
cause they  are  frightening,  I  freak  out  and  open  my  eyes  and 
stop  it.  In  many  of  these  sessions,  back  about  300  years,  I  often 
run  across  a  particular  French-appearing  man  with  a  black 
moustache,  a  rather  dangerous-looking  guy.  And  there  are  sev- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  140 

eral  highly  eccentric  recurrent  sequences  in  an  Anglo-Saxon 
country  that  have  notably  embarrassed  me  when  I  relived  them 
in  LSD  sessions— goings-on  that  shocked  my  twentieth-century 

Playboy:  What  sort  of  goings-on? 

Leary:  Moments  of  propagation— scenes  of  rough  ancestral 
sexuality  in  Irish  barrooms,  in  haystacks,  in  canopied  beds,  in 
covered  wagons,  on  beaches,  on  the  moist  jungle  floor— and 
moments  of  crisis  in  which  my  forebears  escape  from  fang,  from 
spear,  from  conspiracy,  from  tidal  wave  and  avalanche.  I've 
concluded  that  the  imprints  most  deeply  engraved  in  the  neuro- 
logical memory  bank  have  to  do  with  these  moments  of  life- 
affirming  exultation  and  exhilaration  in  the  perpetuation  and 
survival  of  the  species. 

Playboy:  But  how  can  you  be  sure  they  ever  happened? 

Leary:  You  can't.  They  may  all  be  nothing  more  than 
luridly  melodramatic  Saturday  serials  conjured  up  by  my  fore- 
brain.  But  whatever  they  are— memory  or  imagination— it's  the 
most  exciting  adventure  I've  ever  been  involved  in. 

Playboy:  In  this  connection,  according  to  a  spokesman  for 
the  student  left,  many  former  campus  activists  who've  gone  the 
LSD  route  are  "more  concerned  with  what's  happening  in  their 
heads  than  what's  happening  in  the  world."  Any  comment? 

Leary:  There's  a  certain  truth  in  that.  The  insight  of  LSD 
leads  you  to  concern  yourself  more  with  internal  or  spiritual 
values;  you  realize  that  it  doesn't  make  any  difference  what  you 
do  on  the  outside  unless  you  change  the  inside.  If  all  the  Ne- 
groes and  left-wing  college  students  in  the  world  had  Cadillacs 
and  full  control  of  society,  they  would  still  be  involved  in  an 
anthill  social  system  unless  they  opened  themselves  up  first. 

Playboy:  Aren't  these  young  ex-activists  among  an  increas- 
ing number  of  students,  writers,  artists  and  musicians  whom 
one  critic  has  called  "the  psychedelic  drop-outs"— LSD  users 
who  find  themselves  divested  of  motivation,  unable  to  readjust 
to  reality  or  to  resume  their  roles  in  society? 

Leary:  There  is  an  LSD  drop-out  problem,  but  it's  nothing 
to  worry  about.  It's  something  to  cheer.  The  lesson  I  have 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  141 

learned  from  over  300  LSD  sessions,  and  which  I  have  been 
passing  on  to  others,  can  be  stated  in  6  syllables:  Turn  on,  tune 
in,  drop  out.  "Turn  on"  means  to  contact  the  ancient  energies 
and  wisdoms  that  are  built  into  your  nervous  system.  They 
provide  unspeakable  pleasure  and  revelation.  "Tune  in"  means 
to  harness  and  communicate  these  new  perspectives  in  a  har- 
monious dance  with  the  external  world.  "Drop  out"  means  to 
detach  yourself  from  the  tribal  game.  Current  models  of  social 
adjustment— mechanized,  computerized,  socialized,  intellectual- 
ized,  televised.  Sanforized— make  no  sense  to  the  new  LSD 
generation,  who  see  clearly  that  American  society  is  becoming 
an  air-conditioned  anthill.  In  every  generation  of  human  his- 
tory, thoughtful  men  have  turned  on  and  dropped  out  of  the 
tribal  game  and  thus  stimulated  the  larger  society  to  lurch 
ahead.  Every  historical  advance  has  resulted  from  the  stern 
pressure  of  visionary  men  who  have  declared  their  indepen- 
dence from  the  game:  "Sorry,  George  III,  we  don't  buy  your 
model.  We're  going  to  try  something  new";  "Sorry,  Louis  XVI, 
we've  got  a  new  idea.  Deal  us  out";  "Sorry,  LB  J,  it's  time  to 
mosey  on  beyond  the  Great  Society." 

The  reflex  reaction  of  society  to  the  creative  drop-out  is  panic 
and  irritation.  If  anyone  questions  the  social  order,  he  threatens 
the  whole  shaky  edifice.  The  automatic,  angry  reaction  to  the 
creative  drop-out  is  that  he  will  become  a  parasite  on  the  hard- 
working, conforming  citizen.  This  is  not  true.  The  LSD  experi- 
ence does  not  lead  to  passivity  and  withdrawal;  it  spurs  a 
driving  hunger  to  communicate  in  new  forms,  in  better  ways,  to 
express  a  more  harmonious  message,  to  live  a  better  life.  The 
LSD  cult  has  already  wrought  revolutionary  changes  in  Ameri- 
can culture.  If  you  were  to  conduct  a  poll  of  the  creative  young 
musicians  in  this  country,  you'd  find  that  at  least  80  percent  are 
using  psychedelic  drugs  in  a  systematic  way.  And  this  new 
psychedelic  style  has  produced  not  only  a  new  rhythm  in  mod- 
ern music  but  a  new  decor  for  our  discotheques,  a  new  form  of 
film  making,  a  new  kinetic  visual  art,  a  new  literature,  and  has 
begun  to  revise  our  philosophic  and  psychological  thinking. 

Remember,  it's  the  college  kids  who  are  turning  on— the 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  142 

smartest  and  most  promising  of  the  youngsters.  What  an  excit- 
ing prospect:  a  generation  of  creative  youngsters  refusing  to 
march  in  step,  refusing  to  go  to  offices,  refusing  to  sign  up  on 
the  installment  plan,  refusing  to  climb  aboard  the  treadmill. 

Playboy:  What  will  they  do? 

Leary:  Don't  worry.  Each  one  will  work  out  his  individual 
solution.  Some  will  return  to  the  establishment  and  inject  their 
new  ideas.  Some  will  live  underground  as  self-employed  artists, 
artisans  and  writers.  Some  are  already  forming  small  communi- 
ties out  of  the  country.  Many  are  starting  schools  for  children 
and  adults  who  wish  to  learn  the  use  of  their  sense  organs. 
Psychedelic  businesses  are  springing  up:  bookstores,  art  gal- 
leries. Psychedelic  industries  may  involve  more  manpower  in 
the  future  than  the  automobile  industry  has  produced  in  the 
last  20  years.  In  our  technological  society  of  the  future,  the  prob- 
lem will  be  not  to  get  people  to  work  but  to  develop  graceful, 
fulfilling  ways  of  living  a  more  serene,  beautiful  and  creative 
life.  Psychedelics  will  help  to  point  the  way. 

Playboy:  Concerning  LSD's  influence  on  creativity.  Dr.  B. 
William  Murphy,  a  psychoanalyst  for  the  National  Institute  of 
Mental  Health,  takes  the  view  that  there  is  no  evidence  "that 
drugs  of  any  kind  increase  creative  potency.  One  unfortunate 
ejffect  is  to  produce  an  illusion  dangerous  to  people  who  are 
creative,  who  cease  then  to  be  motivated  to  produce  something 
that  is  genuinely  new.  And  the  illusion  is  bad  in  making  those 
who  are  not  creative  get  the  idea  that  they  are."  What's  your 

Leary:  It's  unfortunate  that  most  of  the  scientific  studies  on 
creativity  have  been  done  by  psychologists  who  don't  have  one 
creative  bone  in  their  body.  They  have  studied  people  who  by 
definition  are  emphatically  uncreative— namely,  graduate  stu- 
dents. Is  it  any  wonder  that  all  the  "scientific"  studies  of  LSD 
and  creativity  have  shown  no  creative  results?  But  to  answer 
your  question,  I  must  admit  that  LSD  and  marijuana  do  not 
allow  you  to  walk  to  the  piano  and  ripple  off  great  fugues. 
Psychedelic  drugs,  particularly  marijuana,  merely  enhance  the 
senses.  They  allow  you  to  see  and  hear  new  patterns  of  energy 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  143 

that  suggest  new  patterns  for  composition.  In  this  way,  they 
enhance  the  creative  perspective,  but  the  ability  to  convert  your 
new  perspective,  however  glorious  it  may  be,  into  a  communica- 
tion form  still  requires  the  technical  skill  of  a  musician  or  a 
painter  or  a  composer. 

But  if  you  want  to  find  out  whether  LSD  and  marijuana  have 
helped  creative  people,  don't  listen  to  a  psychiatrist;  don't  listen 
to  a  government  bureaucrat.  Find  the  artist  and  ask  him.  If  you 
want  to  find  out  about  creativity,  ask  the  creative  person.  If  you 
want  to  know  what  LSD  does  and  whether  it's  good  or  bad, 
don't  listen  to  a  cop;  don't  listen  to  messianic  fanatics  like 
Timothy  Leary.  Find  some  friend  who  has  taken  LSD  and  ask 
him.  He's  the  person  to  believe  because  you'll  know  how  likely 
he  is  to  distort  things,  and  then  you'll  be  able  to  judge  on  the 
basis  of  his  statements  what  LSD  has  done  for  him.  Then  ask 
other  friends  about  their  experiences.  Base  your  opinion  about 
LSD  on  a  series  of  such  interviews,  and  you  will  have  collected 
more  hard  data  than  any  of  the  public  health  officials  and  police 
officers  who  are  making  daily  scare  statements  to  the  press  these 

Playboy:  Are  any  of  these  scare  statements  true?  According 
to  a  recent  report  on  narcotics  addiction  published  by  the 
Medical  Society  of  the  County  of  New  York,  for  example, 
*'those  with  unstable  personalities  may  experience  LSD-induced 
psychoses."  Is  that  true? 

Leary:  In  over  3,000  people  that  I  have  personally  observed 
taking  LSD,  we've  had  only  4  cases  of  prolonged  psychoses— a 
matter  of,  say,  2  or  3  weeks  after  the  session.  All  of  these  had 
been  in  a  mental  hospital  before,  and  they  were  people  who 
could  not  commit  themselves  to  any  stable  relationship.  And  all 
of  these  people  had  nothing  going  in  their  lives.  They  were 
drifting  or  floating,  with  no  home  or  family  or  any  roots,  no 
stable,  ongoing  life  situation  to  return  to.  It's  dangerous  to  take 
a  trip  if  you  have  no  internal  trust  and  no  external  place  to  turn 
to  afterward. 

Playboy:  The  same  New  York  Medical  Society  report  also 
stated  that  "normal,  well-adjusted  persons  can   undergo  an 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  144 

acute  psychotic  break  under  the  influence  of  LSD."  Is  there  any 
truth  to  that? 

Leary:  Everyone,  normal  or  neurotic,  experiences  some  fear 
and  confusion  during  the  high-dose  LSD  session.  The  outcome 
and  duration  of  this  confusion  depends  upon  your  environment 
and  your  traveling  companions.  That's  why  it's  tremendously 
important  that  the  LSD  session  be  conducted  in  a  protected 
place,  that  the  person  be  prepared  and  that  he  have  an  experi- 
enced and  understanding  guide  to  support  and  shield  him  from 
intrusion  and  interruption.  When  unprepared  people  take  LSD 
in  bad  surroundings,  and  when  there's  no  one  present  who  has 
the  skill  and  courage  to  guide  them  through  it,  then  paranoid 
episodes  are  possible. 

Playboy:  Will  you  describe  them? 

Leary:  There  are  any  number  of  forms  a  paranoid  episode 
can  take.  You  can  find  yourself  feeling  that  you've  lived  most  of 
your  life  in  a  universe  completely  of  your  own,  not  really 
touching  and  harmonizing  with  the  flow  of  the  people  and  the 
energies  around  you.  It  seems  to  you  that  everyone  else,  and 
every  other  organism  in  creation,  is  in  beatific  communion,  and 
only  you  are  isolated  by  your  egocentricity.  Every  action  around 
you  fits  perfectly  into  this  paranoid  mosaic.  Every  glance,  every 
look  of  boredom,  every  sound,  every  smile  becomes  a  confirma- 
tion of  the  fact  that  everyone  knows  that  you  are  the  only  one  in 
the  universe  that's  not  swinging  lovingly  and  gracefully  with 
the  rest  of  the  cosmic  dance.  I've  experienced  this  myself. 

I've  also  sat  with  hundreds  of  people  who  have  been  panicked 
because  they  were  trapped  at  the  level  of  cellular  reincarnation, 
where  they  looked  out  and  saw  that  their  body  had  scales  like  a 
fish  or  felt  that  they  had  turned  into  an  animal.  And  I've  sat 
with  people  who  were  caught  on  the  electronic  level,  in  that 
eerie,  inhuman  world  of  shuttling  vibrations.  But  all  these 
episodes  can  be  dealt  with  easily  by  an  experienced  guide  who 
recognizes  where  the  LSD  tripper  is  caught.  He  can  bring  you 
back  down  quite  simply  by  holding  a  candle  in  front  of  you,  or 
getting  you  to  concentrate  on  your  breathing,  or  having  you  lie 
down  and  getting  you  to  feel  your  body  merging  with  the 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [145 

mattress  or  the  floor.  If  he  understands  the  map  of  conscious- 
ness, it's  very  easy  to  bring  you  back  to  a  more  recognizable  and 
less  frightening  level.  With  his  help,  you'll  be  able  to  exult  in 
and  learn  from  the  experience. 

If  he's  frightened  or  uncomprehending,  however,  or  if  he  acts 
so  as  to  protect  his  own  social  interests,  your  own  terror  and 
confusion  are  naturally  increased.  If  he  treats  you  as  a  psychotic 
rather  than  as  one  who  is  seriously  groping  with  basic  problems 
that  you  should  be  encouraged  to  face  and  work  through,  you 
may  be  forced  into  a  psychotic  state.  Every  case  of  prolonged 
LSD  psychosis  is  the  fault  not  of  the  drug  nor  of  the  drug  taker 
but  of  the  people  around  him  who  lose  their  cool  and  call  the 
cops  or  the  doctors.  The  lesson  here  is  to  fear  neither  LSD  nor 
your  own  psychological  nature— which  is  basically  okay— but  to 
fear  the  diagnosing  mind  of  the  psychiatrist.  Ninety  percent  of 
the  bad  LSD  trips  are  provoked  by  psychiatric  propaganda, 
which  creates  an  atmosphere  of  fear  rather  than  of  courage  and 
trust.  If  the  psychiatrists  had  their  way,  we'd  all  be  patients. 

Playboy:  Speaking  of  patients,  a  recent  Time  essay  reported 
that  a  survey  in  Los  Angeles  "showed  as  many  as  200  victims  of 
bad  trips  in  the  city's  hospitals  at  one  time."  Does  that  sound  to 
you  like  a  realistic  figure? 

Leary:  I'd  like  to  know  who  conducted  that  survey  and 
where  they  got  their  figures,  because  it's  contradicted  by  the 
known  facts.  I  was  recently  told  by  the  director  of  a  large  Cali- 
fornia hospital,  which  handles  LSD  cases,  that  most  LSD  panic 
subjects  are  given  a  tranquilizer  and  sent  home  without  even 
being  admitted.  The  same  is  true  at  Bellevue  and  throughout 
the  country. 

Playboy:  In  the  same  essay.  Time  wrote:  "Under  the  influ- 
ence of  LSD,  nonswimmers  think  they  can  swim,  and  others 
think  they  can  fly.  One  young  man  tried  to  stop  a  car  on  Los 
Angeles'  Wilshire  Boulevard  and  was  hit  and  killed.  A  magazine 
salesman  became  convinced  that  he  was  the  Messiah."  Are  these 
cases,  and  others  like  them,  representative  reactions  to  LSD,  in 
your  opinion? 

Leary:  I  would  say  that  one  case  in  10,000  is  going  to  flip  out 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  146 

and  run  out  into  the  street  and  do  something  bizarre.  But  these 
are  the  cases  that  get  reported  in  the  papers.  There  are  3,000 
Americans  who  die  every  year  from  barbiturates,  and  it  never 
hits  the  papers.  Thousands  more  die  in  car  crashes  and  from 
lung  cancer  induced  by  smoking.  That  isn't  news,  either.  But 
one  LSD  kid  rushes  out  and  takes  off  his  clothes  in  the  street 
and  it's  headlines  in  the  New  York  Daily  News.  If  one  nut  who's 
a  member  of  the  narcotics  squad  from  the  Los  Angeles  police 
force  gets  drunk  and  climbs  into  an  airplane  and  threatens  the 
pilot,  that's  no  reason  for  grounding  all  airplanes,  calling  alco- 
hol illegal,  outlawing  guns  and  dissolving  the  narcotics  bureau 
of  the  Los  Angeles  Police  Force.  So  one  episode  out  of  10,000 
LSD  cases  is  no  reason  for  any  kind  of  hand  wringing  and 
grandmotherly  panic. 

Playboy:  A  recent  case  of  this  nature  involved  a  young  man 
who  contended  that  he  killed  his  mother-in-law  while  he  was  on 
LSD.  Isn't  that  a  cause  for  concern? 

Leary:  Yes— but  only  because  this  one  episode  has  led  to 
some  psychiatrists  and  police  calling  LSD  a  homicidal  drug. 
Actually,  there's  no  evidence  that  that  unfortunate  boy  ever 
took  LSD.  He  was  obviously  attempting  a  cop-out  when  he 
talked  to  the  police  about  it  afterward. 

Playboy:  There  have  also  been  reports  of  suicide  under  the 
influence  of  LSD.  Does  this  happen? 

Leary:  In  23  years  of  LSD  use,  there  has  been  one  definite 
case  of  suicide  during  the  LSD  session.  This  was  a  woman  in 
Switzerland  who'd  been  given  LSD  without  her  knowledge.  She 
thought  she  was  going  crazy  and  jumped  out  of  the  window. 
But  it  wasn't  that  the  LSD  poisoned  her.  The  unexpected  LSD 
led  to  such  panic  and  confusion  that  she  killed  herself.  There 
have  been  other  rumors  about  LSD  panics  leading  to  suicide, 
but  I  am  waiting  for  the  scientific  evidence.  In  more  than  a 
million  LSD  cases,  there  haven't  been  more  than  one  or  two 
documented  cases  of  homicide  or  suicide  attributable  to  the 
LSD  experience. 

Playboy:  Though  it  hasn't  led  to  any  reported  deaths,  a 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  147 

number  o£  LSD  panics  have  been  attributed  to  the  experience 
of  many  users,  in  the  midst  of  a  session,  that  they're  about  to 
have  a  heart  attack.  Is  this  a  common  occurrence? 

Leary:  Fairly  common.  When  somebody  says  to  us  in  an  LSD 
session,  "My  heart's  going  to  stop!"  we  say,  "Okay,  fine.  That's  a 
new  experience,  nothing  to  be  afraid  of.  Let  it  stop."  There  is 
no  physiological  change  in  your  heart,  but  the  experience  is 
that  the  heart  is  stopping.  On  LSD,  you  see,  you  may  actually 
hear  the  thump  of  your  heartbeat.  You  become  aware  of  its 
pulsing  nerves  and  muscle  fibers  straining  for  the  next  beat. 
How  can  they  possibly  do  this  over  and  over  again?  If  you're 
unprepared  for  it,  this  can  become  a  terror  that  it  cannot  con- 
tinue. Because  of  LSD's  distension  of  the  time  dimension,  you 
may  wait  what  seems  like  five  hours  for  the  second  beat.  Then 
you  wait  again,  and  you  wait,  and  you  are  aware  of  the  millions 
of  cells  that  must  be  tiring  out;  they  may  not  have  the  strength 
to  beat  again.  You're  afraid  that  your  heart  is  going  to  burst. 
Then  finally— thump!  At  last!  But  did  it  come  slower  this  time? 
Is  it  stopping?  You  feel  the  blood  throbbing  in  your  heart.  You 
feel  the  ventricles  opening  and  closing;  there's  a  hole  in  your 
heart!  The  blood  is  flooding  your  body!  You're  drowning  in 
your  own  blood!  "Help!  Get  me  a  doctor!"  you  may  shout.  If 
this  kind  of  episode  occurs,  of  course,  all  that's  necessary  to  allay 
your  fears  are  a  few  words  of  understanding  and  reassurance 
from  an  experienced  guide  and  companion,  who  should  be  with 
you  at  all  times. 

Playboy:  Dr.  Jonathan  Cole,  of  the  National  Institute  o£ 
Mental  Health,  has  said  that  psychedelic  drugs  "can  be  dan- 
gerous. .  .  .  People  go  into  panic  states  in  which  they  are  ready 
to  jump  out  of  their  skins.  .  .  .  The  benefits  are  obscure." 
What  do  you  say? 

Leary:  Based  on  the  evidence  that  Dr.  Cole  has  had  at  hand, 
he  is  justified  in  saying  that.  Dr.  Cole  undoubtedly  has  never 
taken  LSD  himself.  He  has  sponsored  research  that  has  been 
done— indeed,  must  be  done— in  mental  hospitals,  under  psy- 
chiatric supervision.  But  this  is  the  worst  possible  place  to  take 
LSD.  Take  LSD  in  a  nuthouse  and  you'll  have  a  nuthouse 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  148 

experience.  These  poor  patients  are  usually  not  even  told  what 
drugs  they're  given;  they're  not  prepared.  I  consider  this  psy- 
chological rape.  So  I'm  not  surprised  that  the  cases  Dr.  Cole  has 
heard  about  from  his  researchers  are  negative. 

But  Dr.  Cole  doesn't  listen  to  the  hundreds  of  thousands  of 
people  who  have  taken  LSD  under  intelligent,  aesthetic,  care- 
fully planned  circumstances  and  have  had  their  lives  changed 
for  the  better.  He  doesn't  receive  the  hundred  letters  a  week 
that  I  receive  from  people  who  are  profoundly  grateful  to  have 
been  dramatically  opened  up  by  LSD.  He  hears  only  the  horror 
stories.  If  you  talk  to  a  mortician,  you'll  come  to  the  conclusion 
that  everyone  who  is  of  any  importance  is  dead.  If  you  talk  to  a 
law-enforcement  officer,  you'll  find  that  practically  everyone  is  a 
criminal,  actual  or  potential.  And  if  you  talk  to  a  psychiatrist, 
you'll  hear  nothing  but  gloomy  lexicons  of  psychopathology. 
What  Dr.  Cole  thinks  about  LSD  is  irrelevant,  because  for  every 
case  that  his  federal  researchers  have  studied,  there  are  5,000 
serious-minded,  courageous  young  laymen  out  in  the  univer- 
sities and  out  in  the  seminaries  and  in  their  own  homes  and  on 
the  beaches  who  are  taking  LSD  and  having  fantastically  beauti- 
ful experiences. 

Playboy:  Have  you  allowed  or  encouraged  your  children  to 
use  marijuana  and  LSD? 

Leary:  Yes.  I  have  no  objection  to  them  expanding  their 
consciousness  through  the  use  of  sacramental  substances  in 
accord  with  their  spiritual  growth  and  well-being.  At  Harvard, 
in  Mexico  and  here  at  Millbrook,  both  of  my  children  have 
witnessed  more  psychedelic  sessions  than  any  psychiatrist  in  the 

Playboy:  At  most  of  the  psychedelic  sessions  you've  con- 
ducted in  the  course  of  research,  as  you've  said  elsewhere,  you 
and  your  associates  have  turned  on  with  your  subjects— and  not 
in  the  laboratory  but  on  beaches,  in  meadows,  living  rooms  and 
even  Buddhist  temples.  In  the  opinion  of  most  authorities,  this 
highly  unconventional  therapeutic  technique  is  not  only  im- 
practical but  irrational  and  irresponsible.  How  do  you  justify  it? 

Leary:  This  sort  of  criticism  has  ruined  my  reputation  in 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  149 

conventional  research  circles,  but  it  simply  betrays  ignorance  of 
the  way  LSD  works.  You  have  to  take  it  with  your  patient— or  at 
least  to  have  taken  it  yourself— in  order  to  empathize  with  and 
follow  him  as  he  goes  from  one  level  to  another.  If  the  therapist 
has  never  taken  it,  he's  sitting  there  with  his  sticky  molasses 
Freudian  psychiatric  chessboard  attempting  to  explain  experi- 
ences that  are  far  beyond  the  narrow  limits  of  that  particular 

Playboy:  You've  also  been  criticized  for  being  insufficiently 
selective  in  the  screening  of  subjects  to  whom  you've  adminis- 
tered LSD. 

Leary:  We  have  been  willing  and  eager  to  run  LSD  sessions 
with  anyone  in  any  place  that  made  collaborative  sense  to  me 
and  the  subject.  We've  never  given  LSD  to  anyone  for  our  own 
selfish  purposes,  or  for  selfish  purposes  of  his  own,  but  if  any 
reasonably  stable  individual  wanted  to  develop  his  own  con- 
sciousness, we  turned  him  on.  This  ruined  our  reputation  with 
scientists,  of  course,  but  it  also  made  possible  a  fantastically 
successful  record:  99  percent  of  the  people  who  took  LSD  with 
us  had  fabulous  experiences.  None  of  our  subjects  flipped  out 
and  went  to  Bellevue;  they  walked  out  of  the  session  room  with 
messianic  gleams  in  their  eyes. 

Playboy:  Even  if  only  one  percent  of  your  subjects  had  bad 
experiences,  is  it  worth  the  risk? 

Leary:  That  question  can  be  answered  only  by  the  indi- 
vidual. When  men  set  out  for  Plymouth  in  a  leaky  boat  to 
pursue  a  new  spiritual  way  of  life,  of  course  they  were  taking 
risks.  But  the  risks  of  the  voyage  were  less  than  the  risks  of 
remaining  in  a  spiritual  plague  area,  immobilized  from  the 
possibility  of  change  by  their  fears  of  taking  a  risk.  No  govern- 
ment bureau  or  Big  Brother  doctor  can  be  allowed  to  decide 
who  is  going  to  take  the  risks  involved  in  this  twentieth-century 
voyage  of  spiritual  discovery. 

Playboy:  Yet  restrictive  and  prohibitive  laws  against  the  use 
of  LSD  have  already  been  passed  in  California,  Nevada  and 
New  Jersey,  and  several  members  of  Congress  have  urged  fed- 
eral legislation  outlawing  its  manufacture  or  possession. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  150 

Leary:  Such  laws  are  unrealistic  and  unconstitutional.  Over 
15  percent  of  college  students  are  currently  using  LSD.  Do  the 
hard-arteried  politicians  and  police  types  really  want  to  put  our 
brightest  and  most  creative  youngsters  in  prison  for  possession 
of  a  colorless,  odorless,  tasteless,  nonaddictive,  mind-opening 
substance?  Irrational,  senile  legislation  preventing  people  from 
pursuing  private,  intimate  experiences— sexual  or  spiritual— 
cannot  and  will  not  be  obeyed.  We  are  currently  planning  to 
appeal  any  conviction  for  possession  of  LSD  on  constitutional 
grounds.  But  the  federal  government  is  opposed  to  laws  penaliz- 
ing possession  of  LSD  because  it  recognizes  the  impossibility  of 
enforcement  and  the  unconstitutionality  of  such  statutes.  Of 
course,  this  ambiguous  situation  is  temporary.  In  15  years,  the 
bright  kids  who  are  turning  on  now  will  be  shaping  public 
opinion,  writing  our  novels,  running  our  universities  and  re- 
pealing the  hysterical  laws  that  are  now  being  passed. 

Playboy:  In  what  way  are  they  hysterical? 

Leary:  They're  hysterical  because  the  men  who  are  passing 
them  have  allowed  their  ignorance  of  LSD  to  escalate  into 
irrationality.  Instinctively  they  put  LSD  in  the  same  bag  with 
heroin.  They  think  of  drug  taking  as  a  criminal  activity  prac- 
ticed by  stuporous  escapists  and  crazed,  deranged  minds.  The 
daily  diatribes  of  police  officials  and  many  legislators  to  that 
effect  completely  ignore  the  fact  that  the  use  of  LSD  is  a  white- 
collar,  upper-middle-class,  college-educated  phenomenon.  The 
LSD  user  is  not  a  criminal  type.  He's  not  an  underground 
character  or  a  junkie.  He  doesn't  seek  to  hide  or  to  apologize  for 
his  activities.  But  while  more  and  more  laws  are  being  passed 
restricting  these  activities,  more  and  more  people  are  engaging 
in  them.  LSD  is  being  manufactured  by  people  in  their  own 
homes  and  in  small  laboratories.  If  this  continues,  in  ten  years 
the  LSD  group  will  constitute  one  of  our  largest  minorities. 
Then  what  are  the  lawmakers  going  to  do? 

Playboy:  What  should  they  do,  in  your  opinion? 

Leary:  As  they  learn  more  about  LSD,  I  think— I  hope— they 
will  recognize  that  there  will  have  to  be  special  legislation. 
There  should  be  laws  about  the  manufacture  of  LSD.  It  is  an 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  151 

incredibly  powerful  drug.  It  is  not  a  narcotic  and  not  a  medical 
drug;  it  doesn't  cure  any  illness.  It  is  a  new  form  of  energy.  Just 
as  a  new  form  of  legislation  had  to  be  developed  for  radioactive 
isotopes,  so  will  there  need  to  be  something  comparable  for 
LSD.  And  I  think  some  LSD  equivalent  of  the  Atomic  Energy 
Commission  and  some  special  licensing  procedures  should  be  set 
up  to  deal  with  this  new  class  of  drugs. 

Playboy:  What  sort  of  procedures  would  you  recommend? 

Leary:  You  can't  legalize  and  control  manufacture  until 
you've  worked  out  a  constructive  way  of  licensing  or  authoriz- 
ing possession.  There  are  many  individuals  who  should  be 
provided  with  a  legitimate  access  to  chemicals  that  expand  their 
minds.  If  we  don't  do  this,  we'll  have  a  free  market  or  a  black 
market.  During  Prohibition,  when  alcohol  was  prohibited,  it 
was  suppressed;  then  you  had  bathtub  gin  and  bootleg  poisons 
of  all  sorts.  The  government  received  no  taxes  and  the  con- 
sumer had  no  guarantee  that  what  he  was  buying  was  safe  and 
effective.  But  if  marijuana  and  LSD  were  put  under  some  form 
of  licensing  where  responsible,  serious-minded  people  could 
purchase  these  chemicals,  then  the  manufacture  could  be  super- 
vised and  the  sales  could  be  both  regulated  and  taxed.  A  healthy 
and  profitable  situation  would  result  for  all  involved. 

Playboy:  How  would  a  person  demonstrate  his  responsibility 
and  serious-mindedness  in  applying  for  a  license? 

Leary:  The  criteria  for  licensing  the  use  of  mild  psychedelics 
like  marijuana  should  be  similar  to  those  for  the  automobile 
license.  The  applicant  would  demonstrate  his  seriousness  by 
studying  manuals,  passing  written  tests  and  getting  a  doctor's 
certificate  of  psychological  and  physical  soundness.  The  licensing 
for  use  of  powerful  psychedelic  drugs  like  LSD  should  be  along 
the  lines  of  the  airplane  pilot's  license:  intensive  study  and 
preparation,  plus  very  stringent  testing  for  fitness  and  com- 

Playboy:  What  criteria  would  you  use  for  determining  fit- 
ness and  competence? 

Leary:  No  one  has  the  right  to  tell  anyone  else  what  he 
should  or  should  not  do  with  this  great  and  last  frontier  of 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  152 

freedom.  I  think  that  anyone  who  wants  to  have  a  psychedelic 
experience  and  is  willing  to  prepare  for  it  and  to  examine  his 
own  hang-ups  and  neurotic  tendencies  should  be  allowed  to 
have  a  crack  at  it. 

Playboy:  Have  you  had  the  opportunity  to  present  this  plan 
to  the  Federal  Narcotics  Bureau? 

Leary:  I  would  be  most  happy  to,  but  the  Narcotics  people 
don't  want  any  sort  of  objective,  equal-play  consideration  of 
these  issues.  When  anyone  suggests  the  heretical  notion  that 
LSD  be  made  available  to  young  people  or  even  hints,  let  us  say, 
at  the  necessity  for  scientific  evaluation  of  marijuana,  he  is 
immediately  labeled  as  a  dangerous  fanatic  and  is  likely  to  be 
investigated.  This  certainly  has  been  demonstrated  by  reactions 
of  people  asked  to  contribute  to  my  legal  defense  fund.  There 
are  hundreds  who  have  contributed  but  who  realistically  cannot 
afEord  to  have  their  names  involved  in  such  a  case,  because  they 
believe  public  identity  may  lead  to  investigatory  persecution. 

Playboy  is  among  the  rare  institutions  that  will  tackle  an 
issue  of  this  sort.  There  is  an  enormous  amount  of  peripheral 
harassment.  .  .  .  This  issue  has  generated  so  much  hysteria 
that  the  normal  processes  of  democratic  debate  are  consistently 
violated.  When  several  million  Americans  can't  have  their 
voices  heard  and  can't  get  objective  and  scientific  consideration 
of  their  position,  I  think  that  the  Constitution  is  in  danger. 

Playboy:  There  are  some  who  see  the  appeal  of  your  convic- 
tion in  Laredo  as  a  step  leading  to  legalization  of  marijuana.  Do 
you  think  that's  possible? 

Leary:  If  I  win  my  case  in  the  higher  courts— and  my  lawyers 
believe  I  will— this  will  have  wide  implications.  It  will  suggest 
that  future  arrests  for  marijuana  must  be  judged  on  the  merits 
of  the  individual  case  rather  than  a  blanket,  arbitrary  imple- 
mentation of  irrational  and  excessive  regulation.  I  consider  the 
marijuana  laws  to  be  unjust  laws.  My  30-year  sentence  and 
$30,000  fine  simply  pointed  up  in  a  rather  public  way  the 
severity  and  harshness  of  the  current  statutes,  which  are  clearly 
in  violation  of  several  amendments  to  the  Constitution. 

Playboy:  Which  amendments? 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  153 

Leary:  The  First  Amendment,  which  guarantees  the  right  of 
spiritual  exploration,  and  the  Fifth  Amendment,  which  guaran- 
tees immunity  from  self-incrimination.  The  fact  that  I'm  being 
imprisoned  for  not  paying  a  tax  on  a  substance  that,  if  I  had 
applied  for  a  license,  would  have  led  to  my  automatic  arrest,  is 
clearly  self-incrimination.  The  current  marijuana  statutes  are 
also  in  violation  of  the  Eighth  Amendment,  which  forbids  cruel 
and  unusual  punishments,  and  of  the  Ninth  Amendment, 
which  guarantees  certain  personal  liberties  not  specifically 
enumerated  in  the  other  amendments. 

Playboy:  The  implications  of  your  arrest  and  conviction  in 
Laredo  were  still  being  debated  when  the  police  raided  your 
establishment  here  in  Millbrook.  We've  read  several  different 
versions  of  just  what  took  place  that  night.  Will  you  give  us  a 
step-by-step  account? 

Leary:  Gladly.  On  Saturday,  April  16th,  there  were  present 
at  our  center  in  Millbrook  29  adults  and  12  children.  Among 
them  were  3  Ph.D.  psychologists,  1  M.D.  psychiatrist,  3  physi- 
cists, 5  journalists  on  professional  assignments  and  3  photog- 
raphers. At  1:30  A.M.,  all  but  3  guests  had  retired.  I  was  in  bed. 
My  son  and  a  friend  of  his  were  in  the  room  talking  to  me  about 
a  term  paper  that  my  son  was  writing.  We  heard  a  noise  outside 
in  the  hallway.  My  son  opened  the  door,  slammed  it  and  said, 
"Wow,  Dad,  there's  about  50  cops  out  there!"  I  jumped  out  of 
bed  and  was  in  the  middle  of  the  room  when  the  door  burst 
open  and  2  uniformed  sheriffs  and  2  assistant  district  attorneys 
marched  in  and  told  me  not  to  move.  I  was  wearing  only 
pa  jama  tops. 

One  of  the  sheriff's  statements  to  the  press  was  that  the 
raiding  party  discovered  most  of  the  occupants  in  the  house  in  a 
state  of  semiundr ess— which  sounds  pretty  lurid  until  you  real- 
ize that  almost  everyone  in  the  house  was  in  bed  asleep  at  the 
time  of  the  raid.  After  the  initial  shock  of  finding  armed  and 
uniformed  men  in  our  bedrooms,  all  of  my  guests  reacted  with 
patience,  humor  and  tolerance  to  five  hours  of  captivity.  The 
members  of  the  raiding  party,  on  the  other  hand,  were  ex- 
tremely nervous.  It's  obvious  that  they  had  in  mind  some  James 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  154 

Bond  fantasy  of  invading  the  oriental  headquarters  of  some 
sexual  SMERSH,  and  they  were  extremely  jumpy  as  they  went 
about  their  search  of  the  entire  house.  One  interesting  aspect  of 
the  raid  was  that  all  of  the  women  present  were  stripped  and 

Playboy:  Did  anyone  object? 

Leary:  We  objected  to  everything  that  was  being  done, 
including  the  fact  that  we  could  not  have  a  lawyer  present. 

Playboy:  What  did  the  police  find  during  the  search? 

Leary:  After  a  5-hour  search,  they  arrested  4  people:  a 
photographer  here  on  a  professional  assignment,  and  a  Hindu 
holy  man  and  his  wife— all  of  whom  they  alleged  had  marijuana 
in  their  possession— and  myself.  There  was  no  claim  that  I  had 
any  marijuana  in  my  possession  or  control;  the  charge  involved 
my  being  the  director  of  the  house. 

Playboy:  Did  they  have  a  warrant? 

Leary:  They  had  a  warrant,  but  we  claim  it  was  defective 
and  illegal. 

Playboy:  In  what  way? 

Leary:  In  the  Bill  of  Rights  it  clearly  states  that  the  govern- 
ment cannot  just  swear  out  a  warrant  to  go  into  anyone's  house 
on  general  suspicion  and  speculation.  Specifically,  a  search  war- 
rant can  be  issued  only  on  the  basis  of  tangible  evidence,  usually 
from  an  informer,  that  a  specific  amount  of  defined,  illegal 
substance  is  present  at  a  certain  place  and  time.  There  was  no 
such  probable  cause  for  the  raid  at  Millbrook.  Among  the 
**causes"  cited  was  that  cars  with  out-of-state  licenses  were 
parked  in  my  driveway,  and  that  girls  under  the  age  of  sixteen 
were  playing  around  the  yard  on  a  certain  day  when  it  was 
under  surveillance. 

Playboy:  How  would  that  be  a  cause? 

Leary:  How,  indeed?  Another  alleged  "cause"  for  the  raid 
was  that  I  am  "a  known  and  admitted  trafficker  in  drugs."  Well, 
none  of  these  espionage  reports  seem  to  me— or  to  my  lawyers— 
to  justify  the  issuance  of  a  no-knock,  nighttime  warrant  that 
authorized  the  breaking  of  windows  and  doors  to  obtain  entry 
to  a  private  house. 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  155 

Playboy:  What  is  the  current  status  of  the  charges  against 

Leary:  We  are  now  involved  in  nine  pieces  of  litigation  on 
this  raid.  The  American  Civil  Liberties  Union  has  entered  the 
case  with  a  supporting  brief,  and  while  I  can't  comment  on  the 
technicalities  of  the  litigation,  we  have  a  large  group  of  bright 
young  turned-on  civil  libertarian  lawyers  walking  around  with 
smiles  on  their  faces. 

Playboy:  Do  you  mean  that  your  lawyers  are  on  LSD? 

Leary:  I  don't  feel  I  should  comment  on  that.  Let  me  say, 
however,  that  you  don't  need  to  use  anything  to  be  turned  on, 
in  the  sense  that  you've  tuned  in  to  the  world. 

Playboy:  Dr.  Humphrey  Osmond  of  the  New  Jersey  Neuro- 
psychiatric  Institute— the  man  who  coined  the  word  "psyche- 
delic"—has  described  you  as  "Irish  and  revolutionary,  and  to  a 
good  degree  reckless."  He  was  suggesting  that  if  you  had  been 
more  careful,  you  might  not  have  been  arrested  in  Laredo  or 

Leary:  I  plead  guilty  to  the  charges  of  being  an  Irishman 
and  a  revolutionary.  But  I  don't  think  I'm  careless  about  any- 
thing that's  important. 

Playboy:  Wasn't  it  careless  to  risk  the  loss  of  your  freedom 
by  carrying  a  half  ounce  of  marijuana  into  Mexico? 

Leary:  Well,  that's  like  saying,  wouldn't  it  be  careless  for  a 
Christian  to  carry  the  Bible  to  Russia?  I  just  can't  be  bothered 
with  paranoias  about  wiretapping,  surveillance  and  police  traps. 
It's  been  well  known  for  several  years  that  I'm  using  psychedelic 
drugs  in  my  own  home  and  in  my  own  center  for  the  use  of 
myself  and  my  own  family.  So  at  any  time  the  government 
wanted  to  make  an  issue  of  this,  it  certainly  could.  But  I  can't 
live  my  life  in  secrecy  or  panic  paranoia.  I've  never  bothered  to 
take  a  lot  of  elementary  precautions,  for  example,  about  my 
phone  being  bugged  or  my  actions  being  under  surveillance— 
both  of  which  the  police  admit.  I  would  say  that  if  there  was 
carelessness  in  Laredo,  it  was  carelessness  on  the  part  of  the 
government  officials  in  provoking  a  case  that  has  already 
changed  public  attitudes  and  will  inevitably  change  the  law  on 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  156 

the  possession  and  use  of  marijuana  by  thoughtful  adults  in  this 
country.  The  Narcotics  Bureau  is  in  trouble.  I'm  not. 

Playboy:  But  suppose  all  appeals  fail  and  you  do  go  to 
prison.  What  will  happen  to  your  children  and  to  your  work? 

Leary:  My  children  will  continue  to  grow— externally  and 
internally— and  they  and  all  of  my  friends  and  colleagues  will 
continue  to  communicate  what  they've  learned  to  a  world  that 
certainly  needs  such  lessons.  As  to  where  and  how  they  will  live, 
I  can't  predict. 

Playboy:  Have  you  made  any  provision  for  their  financial 

Leary:  At  the  present  time  I'm  $40,000  in  debt  for  legal 
expenses,  and  I  have  made  no  provisions  for  eating  lunch  to- 
morrow. But  we'll  cross  that  bridge  when  we  come  to  it. 

Playboy:  Do  you  dread  the  prospect  of  imprisonment? 

Leary:  Well,  I  belong  to  one  of  the  oldest  trade  unions  in 
human  civilization— the  alchemists  of  the  mind,  the  scholars  of 
consciousness.  The  threat  of  imprisonment  is  the  number-one 
occupational  hazard  of  my  profession.  Of  the  great  men  of  the 
past  whom  I  hold  up  as  models,  almost  every  one  of  them  has 
been  either  imprisoned  or  threatened  with  imprisonment  for 
their  spiritual  beliefs:  Gandhi,  Jesus,  Socrates,  Lao-tse.  I  have 
absolutely  no  fear  of  imprisonment.  First  of  all,  I've  taken  LSD 
over  40  times  in  a  maximum-security  prison  as  part  of  a  convict 
rehabilitation  project  we  did  in  Boston,  so  I  know  that  the  only 
real  prisons  are  internal.  Secondly,  a  man  who  feels  no  guilt 
about  his  behavior  has  no  fear  of  imprisonment;  I  have  not  one 
shred  of  guilt  about  anything  I've  done  in  the  last  6  years.  I've 
made  hundreds  of  mistakes,  but  I've  never  once  violated  my 
own  ethical  or  moral  values.  I'm  the  freest  man  in  America 
today.  If  you're  free  in  mind  and  heart,  you're  not  in  trouble.  I 
think  that  the  people  who  are  trying  to  put  other  people  in  jail 
and  to  control  basic  evolutionary  energies  like  sex  and  psyche- 
delic chemicals  are  in  trouble,  because  they're  swimming  up- 
stream against  the  two-billion-year  tide  of  cellular  evolution. 

Playboy:  What  would  you  say  is  the  most  important  lesson 
you've  learned  from  your  personal  use  of  LSD? 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  157 

Leary:  First  and  last,  the  understanding  that  basic  to  the  life 
impulse  is  the  question,  should  we  go  on  with  life?  This  is  the 
only  real  issue,  when  you  come  down  to  it,  in  the  evolutionary 
cosmic  sense:  whether  to  make  it  with  a  member  of  the  opposite 
sex  and  keep  it  going— or  not  to.  At  the  deepest  level  of 
consciousness,  this  question  comes  up  over  and  over  again.  I've 
struggled  with  it  in  scores  of  LSD  sessions.  How  did  we  get  here 
and  into  this  mess?  How  do  we  get  out?  There  are  two  ways  out 
of  the  basic  philosophic  isolation  of  man:  You  can  ball  your  way 
out— by  having  children,  which  is  immortality  of  a  sort.  Or  you 
can  step  off  the  wheel.  Buddhism,  the  most  powerful  psychology 
that  man  has  ever  developed,  says  essentially  that.  My  choice, 
however,  is  to  keep  the  life  game  going.  I'm  Hindu,  not  Bud- 

Beyond  this  affirmation  of  my  own  life,  I've  learned  to  con- 
fine my  attention  to  the  philosophic  questions  that  hit  on  the 
really  shrieking,  crucial  issues:  Who  wrote  the  cosmic  script? 
What  does  the  DNA  code  expect  of  me?  Is  the  big  genetic-code 
show  live  or  on  tape?  Who  is  the  sponsor?  Are  we  completely 
trapped  inside  our  nervous  systems,  or  can  we  make  real  contact 
with  anyone  else  out  there?  I  intend  to  spend  the  rest  of  my  life, 
with  psychedelic  help,  searching  for  the  answers  to  these  ques- 
tions—and encouraging  others  to  do  the  same. 

Playboy:  What  role  do  you  think  psychedelics  will  play  in 
the  everyday  life  of  the  future? 

Leary:  A  starring  role.  LSD  is  only  the  first  of  many  new 
chemicals  that  will  exhilarate  learning,  expand  consciousness 
and  enhance  memory  in  years  to  come.  These  chemicals  will 
inevitably  revolutionize  our  procedures  of  education,  child 
rearing  and  social  behavior.  Within  one  generation  these 
chemical  keys  to  the  nervous  system  will  be  used  as  regular  tools 
of  learning.  You  will  be  asking  your  children,  when  they  come 
home  from  school,  not  "What  book  are  you  reading?"  but 
"Which  molecules  are  you  using  to  open  up  new  Libraries  of 
Congress  inside  your  nervous  system?"  There's  no  doubt  that 
chemicals  will  be  the  central  method  of  education  in  the  future. 
The  reason  for  this,  of  course,  is  that  the  nervous  system,  and 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  158 

learning  and  memory  itself,  is  a  chemical  process.  A  society  in 
which  a  large  percentage  of  the  population  changes  conscious- 
ness regularly  and  harmoniously  with  psychedelic  drugs  will 
bring  about  a  very  different  way  of  life. 

Playboy:  Will  there  be  a  day,  as  some  science  fiction  writers 
predict,  when  people  will  be  taking  trips,  rather  than  drinks,  at 
psychedelic  cocktail  parties? 

Leary:  It's  happening  already.  In  this  country,  there  are 
already  functions  at  which  LSD  may  be  served.  I  was  at  a  large 
dance  recently  where  two-thirds  of  the  guests  were  on  LSD.  And 
during  a  scholarly  LSD  conference  in  San  Francisco  a  few 
months  ago,  I  went  along  with  400  people  on  a  picnic  at  which 
almost  everyone  turned  on  with  LSD.  It  was  very  serene.  They 
were  like  a  herd  of  deer  in  the  forest. 

In  years  to  come,  it  will  be  possible  to  have  a  lunch-hour 
psychedelic  session;  in  a  limited  way,  that  can  be  done  now  with 
DMT,  which  has  a  very  fast  action,  lasting  perhaps  a  half  hour. 
It  may  be  that  there  will  also  be  large  reservations  of  maybe  30 
or  40  square  miles,  where  people  will  go  to  have  LSD  sessions  in 
tranquil  privacy. 

Playboy:  Will  the  psychedelic  experience  become  universal? 
Will  everyone  be  turned  on? 

Leary:  Well,  not  all  the  time.  There  will  always  be  some 
functions  that  require  a  narrow  form  of  consciousness.  You 
don't  want  your  airplane  pilot  flying  higher  than  the  plane  and 
having  Buddhist  revelations  in  the  cockpit.  Just  as  you  don't 
play  golf  on  Times  Square,  you  won't  want  to  take  LSD  where 
narrow,  symbol-manipulating  attention  is  required.  In  a  sophis- 
ticated way,  you'll  attune  the  desired  level  of  consciousness  to 
the  particular  surrounding  that  will  feed  and  nourish  you. 

No  one  will  commit  his  life  to  any  single  level  of  conscious- 
ness. Sensible  use  of  the  nervous  system  would  suggest  that  a 
quarter  of  our  time  will  be  spent  in  symbolic  activities— produc- 
ing and  communicating  in  conventional,  tribal  ways.  But  the 
fully  conscious  life  schedule  will  also  allow  considerable  time- 
perhaps  an  hour  or  two  a  day— devoted  to  the  yoga  of  the  senses, 
to  the  enhancement  of  sensual  ecstasies  through  marijuana  and 

She  Comes  in  Colors  [  159 

hashish,  and  one  day  a  week  to  completely  moving  outside  the 
sensory  and  symbolic  dimensions  into  the  transcendental  realms 
that  are  open  to  you  through  LSD.  This  is  not  science  fiction 
fantasy.  I  have  lived  most  of  the  last  six  years— until  the  recent 
unpleasantness— doing  exactly  that:  taking  LSD  once  a  week 
and  smoking  marijuana  once  a  day. 

Playboy:  How  will  this  psychedelic  regimen  enrich  human 

Leary:  It  will  enable  each  person  to  realize  that  he  is  not  a 
game-playing  robot  put  on  this  planet  to  be  given  a  Social 
Security  number  and  to  be  spun  on  the  assembly  line  of  school, 
college,  career,  insurance,  funeral,  good-bye.  Through  LSD, 
each  human  being  will  be  taught  to  understand  that  the  entire 
history  of  evolution  is  recorded  inside  his  body;  the  challenge  of 
the  complete  human  life  will  be  for  each  person  to  recapitulate 
and  experientially  explore  every  aspect  and  vicissitude  of  this 
ancient  and  majestic  wilderness.  Each  person  will  become  his 
own  Buddha,  his  own  Einstein,  his  own  Galileo.  Instead  of 
relying  on  canned,  static,  dead  knowledge  passed  on  from  other 
symbol  producers,  he  will  be  using  his  span  of  80  or  so  years 
on  this  planet  to  live  out  every  possibility  of  the  human, 
prehuman  and  even  subhuman  adventure.  As  more  respect  and 
time  are  diverted  to  these  explorations,  he  will  be  less  hung  up 
on  trivial,  external  pastimes.  And  this  may  be  the  natural  solu- 
tion to  the  problem  of  leisure.  When  all  of  the  heavy  work  and 
mental  drudgery  is  taken  over  by  machines,  what  are  we  going 
to  do  with  ourselves— build  even  bigger  machines?  The  obvious 
and  only  answer  to  this  peculiar  dilemma  is  that  man  is  going  to 
have  to  explore  the  infinity  of  inner  space,  to  discover  the  terror 
and  adventure  and  ecstasy  that  lie  within  us  all. 


Drop  Out  or  Cop  Out 

It's  always  been  that  way,  and  it  will  always  be  that  way.  There 
are  two  societies,  two  symbiotic  cultures  uneasily  sharing  this 
planet,  two  intertwined  human  structures,  mirror-imaged  like 
root  and  branch.  The  overground  and  the  underground.  The 
drop-outs  and  the  cop-outs. 

There  is  the  visible  establishment— officious,  federal,  rational, 
organized,  uniformed,  at  times  grim,  at  times  smug  in  its 
apparent  control  of  external  power— metal,  machines,  weapons. 
The  cop-outs.  The  cops. 

And  there  is  the  drop-out  underground— loose,  sloppy,  fool- 
ish, tenacious,  private,  at  times  joyous,  at  times  paranoid.  Pro- 
tected by  its  camouflage,  conspiratorial  laughter,  the  knowing 
glance,  the  facade  of  poverty,  long  hair,  out-of -fashion  dress,  the 
covert  subtle  gesture,  the  double  meaning,  sustained  by  its 
access  to  inner  power— touch,  taste,  sensual  connections,  laugh- 
ter, smell,  moist  contact,  ecstasy. 

The  external  power  structure  is  forever  rent  by  struggles  for 
material  control,  national  rivalries,  economic  competition, 
political  conflicts,  ideologies  of  might.  The  boring  battles  of 
generals  and  politicians.  The  CIA  versus  the  FBI. 

The  underground  society  is  also  divided  on  the  basis  of 
somatic,  domestic,  sensory,  erotic,  ritual,  chemical  preferences. 
The  battles  of  clans  and  cults.  Of  magicians  and  saints. 

This  ancient  duality  has  reached  an  evolutionary  crisis  point 
today.  To  see  what's  happening  (and  it's  never  reported  in  the 
papers) ,  you  have  to  be  aware  of  this  overground-underground 

[  160 

Drop  Out  or  Cop  Out  [  161 

ballet.  But  to  see  it,  you  have  to  be  underground.  The  over- 
ground establishment  today  just  can't  see  what's  happening, 
can't  accept  the  dedicated,  enduring,  inevitable  existence  of  the 
underground.  LBJ  has  no  logical,  rational  categories  to  deal 
with  the  apolitical  smile.  The  soft  chuckle  which  comes  from 
neither  the  left  nor  the  right  but  some  center  within. 

In  earlier,  wiser  times  this  struggle  was  clearly  recognized  as 
the  essential  battle  between  God  and  the  devil,  in  which  the 
devil  (who  is  always  he  who  controls  the  external  power) 
systematically  switches  the  labels  (for  obvious  tactical  reasons) 
and  calls  the  static,  regulated,  dry,  grim,  humorless,  destructive 
antilife  good  and  the  free,  ecstatic,  sensual,  moist,  funny,  joyous 
BAD.  This  doesn't  fool  the  turned-on  undergrounders,  who  are 
hip  to  the  fact  that  God  is  a  singing,  swinging  energy  process 
who  likes  to  laugh  and  make  love  and  burrow,  murmuring, 

The  underground  is  always  aware  of  the  existence  and  reflex 
responses  of  the  overground.  Survival  in  the  underground  de- 
pends on  your  ability  to  anticipate  the  movements  of  external 
power.  It's  always  been  a  capital  crime  to  laugh,  make  love,  and 
turn  on  barefoot  in  front  of  whitey's  house,  and  these  are  the 
endemic,  chronic  crimes  of  the  giggling  young,  the  colored,  the 
artists  and  the  visionaries. 

The  structure  of  the  overground  is  always  obsessively  and 
specifically  organized.  Read  the  rule  books  and  directories. 
Today  the  whole  freaky  social  structure  is  listed  alphabetically 
in  the  yellow  pages  of  the  phone  book.  Read  the  section  sol- 
emnly listing  the  local  offices  of  the  U.S.  government,  for 
example.  Isn't  that  weird? 

The  structure  of  the  underground  is  equally  explicit  and 
obvious  to  those  in  the  know,  but  this  knowledge  is  experiental, 
whispered,  word-of-mouth,  friend  to  friend  and  rarely  written 
down.  Can  you  write  down  a  good  joke?  The  telephone  direc- 
tory has  no  listing  for  the  soft  essences,  the  chemical  secretions 
of  life,  love  goddesses,  alchemists,  ecstasy  drugs,  astrologers, 
religious  experiences,  prophetic  visions,  fun,  laughter,  wry 
humor,  the  warm  hand  that  slips  under  your  pretenses  and 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [162 

touches  you  in  exactly  the  right  place.  Where  are  these  classi- 

The  underground  is  always  composed  of  the  "outs,**  those 
who  are  alienated  from  the  establishment  power  centers— in- 
voluntarily by  deprivation  or  voluntarily  by  aesthetic-religious 
choice.  The  young,  the  poor,  the  racially  rejected,  the  articu- 
lately sensitive,  the  spiritually  turned  on  are  curious,  sensual, 
ecstatic,  erotic,  shameless,  free,  mischievous,  rebellious,  intui- 
tive, humorous,  playful,  spiritual.  Adults,  the  middle  class,  the 
cops,  the  government  men,  the  educators,  those  people  listed  in 
the  yellow  pages,  are  not.  No  funny  business  here;  this  is 

In  the  past  the  polar  tension  between  the  two  societies  was 
balanced  by  the  slow  ebb-and-flow  tide  of  history.  Underground 
pressure  builds  up  gradually  over  decades.  An  ecstatic  upheaval 
from  below— Christ,  Buddha,  Mohammed— then  slowly  a  new 
hierarchy  emerges.  The  glue  which  held  the  creaky  network  of 
society  together  in  the  past  was  the  biological  fact  of  matura- 
tion. Social  movements  come  and  go,  but  the  kids  grew  up  to  be 
adults  like  their  parents.  Underground  kids  became  under- 
ground adults,  gypsies,  Jews,  hustlers,  and  artists.  Middle-class 
kids  become  middle-class  adults. 

What  is  new  and  fascinating  about  the  current  upheaval  is 
this  incredible  fact:  the  kids  today  are  different.  They  won't 
grow  up  like  Mom  and  Dad.  This  is  not  a  sociological  trend.  It's 
an  evolutionary  lurch.  The  generation  gap  is  a  species  muta- 
tion. Electronics  and  psychedelics  have  shattered  the  sequence 
of  orderly  linear  identification,  the  automatic  imitation  that 
provides  racial  and  social  continuity.  The  kids  today  just  won't 
grow  up  to  be  like  their  parents.  They  are  pulsating  television 
grids.  They  move  consciousness  around  by  switching  channel 
knobs.  Tune  in.  Tune  out.  Flick  on.  Correct  image  focus. 
Adjust  brightness. 

Technology  moves  energy  patterns  at  the  speed  of  light,  and 
psychochemicals  accelerate  and  switch  consciousness  in  exact 
proportions  to  nuclear  power  and  electric  circuitry.  Your  head  is 
the  cosmic  TV  show,  baby.  Alcohol  turns  oflE  the  brightness. 

Drop  Out  or  Cop  Out  [  163 

methadrine  jiggles  and  speeds  up  the  image,  LSD  flips  on  87 
channels  at  once,  pot  adds  color,  meditation,  mantras,  prayer, 
mudras  sharpen  the  focus.  It's  your  head,  baby,  and  it's  2  billion 
years  old,  and  it's  got  every  control  switch  that  GE  and  IBM 
ever  thought  of  and  a  million  more,  and  it's  hooked  up  in  direct 
connection  to  Central  Broadcasting  Station  WDNA,  and  you 
had  better  learn  to  treasure  it  now,  because  it's  planned  by  the 
Great  Cartel  Monopoly  Benevolent  Corporation,  blueprint  de- 
signer for  planned  obsolescence  every  70  years,  and  there's  no 
rewind  and/ or  instant  replay,  baby,  so  turn  on,  tune  in,  drop 
out  now! 

Consider  (as  case  history  illustration)  what  happened  to  me 
yesterday.  During  the  afternoon,  voices  hurtled  at  the  speed  of 
light  up  to  the  third  floor  at  Millbrook  from  a  West  German 
TV  producer,  from  a  Japanese  TV  producer,  asking  to  film  the 
psychedelic  scene  at  Millbrook.  We  had  a  dozen  long-distance 
phone  calls  from  people  who  tuned  in  last  week  to  the  nation- 
wide program  televised  at  Millbrook.  An  LSD  baby  was  born  to 
a  couple  living  on  the  second  floor— Negro  mother,  white  father. 
At  moonrise  a  new  tepee,  lined  for  winter  living,  was  inaugu- 
rated at  the  camp  of  the  League  for  Spiritual  Discovery  .  .  . 
fire  crackling  .  .  .  scent  of  incense,  pine  branches,  marijuana 
.  .  .  15  high  people  holding  hands  in  a  circle  and  chanting 
.  .  .  the  play  of  shadows  on  the  white  cone  wall. 

Before  midnight  a  fifteen-year-old  girl  on  an  acid  trip  in 
Seattle  phoned,  requesting  a  copy  of  the  league  manual  How  to 
Start  Your  Own  Religion.  After  midnight  a  college  kid  from 
Wisconsin  phoned  requesting  help  on  a  bad  trip.  At  S  a.m.  my 
eighteen-year-old  son  Jack  phoned  from  San  Francisco.  He  had 
taken  1,000  gamma  of  LSD  along  with  1,500  other  kids  at  a 
psychedelic  ballroom  .  .  .  Owsley's  free  sacrament  .  .  . 
psychedelic  lights  .  .  .  acid  rock  'n'  roll.  He  stated  quietly  that 
he  was  illuminated.  None  of  the  parents'  manuals  tell  you  what 
to  say  when  your  kid  announces  he  has  done  the  Buddha  bit, 
attained  satori.  Our  sons  aren't  supposed  to  become  Christ  or 
Lao-tse,  are  they? 

I  said,  "You're  illuminated.  Now  what?" 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  164 

Without  a  second's  hesitation,  he  replied,  "Now  I  illuminate." 
Wow!  What  manual  is  he  reading?  He  had  seen  everything. 
How  it  all  fitted  together.  All  is  one.  He  had  been  given  $17,000 
by  a  teen-age  love  commune  in  L.A.  to  buy  acid  in  San  Fran- 
cisco. Under  LSD  he  had  pulled  a  thousand-dollar  bill  out  of  his 
pocket  and  meditated  and  then  burned  it.  The  parents*  maga- 
zines don't  tell  you  what  to  say  when  your  son  tells  you  that  he's 
burned  a  thousand-dollar  bill  because  money  is  a  paper  illusion. 
Turn  on,  tune  in,  drop  out,  said  Dr.  Timothy  Leary  to  the 
younger  generation.  Did  I  really  say  that? 

Now  I  am  standing,  shivering,  talking  into  the  hall  phone  at 
three  o'clock  in  the  morning,  holding  the.  psychedelic  prayer 
book  I  wrote  in  my  hand,  but  it's  useless  because  this  son  of 
mine  with  dilated  pupils  is  3,000  miles  beyond  me  and  is  far 
wiser  than  any  bible  ever  written  by  old  men,  read  and  recited 
by  the  sleepy,  shivering,  harassed  father  of  two  teen-age  kids 
who  have  blown  their  minds  with  acid  and  talk  quietly  about 
Nirvana  and  illusion  and  the  mind  trip  and  the  boring,  repe- 
titious hypocrisy  of  adult  games.  ("Daddy,  please  don't  make 
me  go  back  to  the  tired  old  game,"  said  my  daughter  Susan  after 
the  hashish  party  in  Hollywood.)  I  am  the  bewildered  father  of 
two  unprepared  kids  who  have  experienced  more  than  Buddha 
and  Einstein  and  are  floating  with  their  generation  out  beyond 
my  comprehension,  and  I  may  well  be  one  of  the  wisest  men 
ever  born  before  1945. 

Listen,  when  I  was  a  forty-year-old  smart-aleck  atheist  Har- 
vard professor  and  renowned  research  psychologist,  illumi- 
nation to  me  meant  electric  lighting,  and  consciousness  was  just 
the  opposite  of  what  poor  Freud  talked  about.  And  I've  taken 
LSD  as  much  as  and  studied  it  more  than  anyone  around,  and 
I'm  still  left  behind,  carrying  on  my  shivering  shoulders  at  three 
o'clock  in  the  morning  the  grief  and  bewilderment  of  every 
parent  whose  teen-age  children  are  mutating  through  acid 
(lysergic  and  nucleic)  up  to  a  higher  level  of  existence.  I  can't 
give  my  beautiful,  wise,  turned-on  son  any  logical  reason  why 
he  shouldn't  burn  a  thousand-dollar  bill.  And  if  you  think  you 

Drop  Out  or  Cop  Out  [  165 

can,  fellow  parents,  you  just  don't  understand  the  problem 
which  the  Buddha  saw  and  the  DNA  codes  and  which  your  kids 
are  facing  in  psychedelic-electronic  1968. 

Then  I  talked  to  the  young  man  from  L.A.  whose  thousand- 
dollar  bill  had  been  burned. 

**How  is  Jack?" 

"He's  beautiful!" 

I  said,  "My  son  is  far  out?"  Pause. 

"No.  He's  a  Taoist  kid.  He's  one  with  the  flow.  You  worry 
him  with  your  worries.  Trust  him.  He  loves  you."  The  young 
man  didn't  even  mention  the  loss  of  the  money,  and  when  I 
asked  him  about  it  he  said,  "Well  I've  always  wanted  to  burn 
a  thousand-dollar  bill.  Hasn't  everybody?"  And  this  from  a 
twenty-two-year-old  who  lives  with  his  wife  and  two  kids  in  a 
small  house  on  $200  a  month.  I  had  trouble  going  back  to 

You  see,  don't  you,  that  you  learn  nothing  about  the  psyche- 
delic underground  and  the  electronic  generation  from  the 
establishment  press?  Hippy  is  an  establishment  label  for  a 
profound,  invisible,  underground,  evolutionary  process.  For 
every  visible  hippy,  barefoot,  beflowered,  beaded,  there  are  a 
thousand  invisible  members  of  the  turned-on  underground. 
Persons  whose  lives  are  tuned  in  to  their  inner  vision,  who  are 
dropping  out  of  the  TV  comedy  of  American  life. 

Fellow  parents,  if  you  have  kids  between  the  ages  of  eleven 
and  twenty-five,  chances  are  you've  got  the  underground  work- 
ing in  your  own  home.  "What!"  you  say.  "Horrors!  One  of  our 
kids  a  secret  hippy?  What  shall  we  do?  Phone  a  psychiatrist? 
Read  them  the  riot  act?  Call  the  police?"  No.  This  time,  let's  try 
an  experiment  in  listening.  Let's  initiate  an  intergeneration 
probe  of  peace  and  trust.  Find  the  member  of  the  underground 
nearest  you— your  own  child,  or  your  niece,  or  the  boy  next 
door— and  consider  him  for  an  hour  or  two  as  a  friendly  ambassa- 
dor sent  to  you  from  the  world  of  the  future.  Listen  to  him. 

Another  way  is  to  tune  into  the  communication  channels  that 
carry  the  underground  message.  Read  their  newspapers.  Every 
city  in  the  country  has  its  underground  paper  serving  its  young 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  166 

readers  with  the  news  they  want  and  advertising  the  commodi- 
ties they  want  in  the  language  they  understand.  Read  the  East 
Village  Other,  the  Oracle  of  San  Francisco  or  the  Oracle  of  Los 
Angeles,  or  read  any  college  newspaper  that  is  relatively  free  of 
faculty  control.  You'll  be  amazed  at  the  consistency  and  sophis- 
tication of  the  new  philosophy. 

Listen  to  their  music.  The  rock  'n'  roll  bands  are  the  philoso- 
pher-poets of  the  new  religion.  Their  beat  is  the  pulse  of  the 
future.  The  message  from  Liverpool  is  the  Newest  Testament, 
chanted  by  four  Evangelists— saints  John,  Paul,  George  and 
Ringo.  Pure  Vedanta,  divine  revelation,  gentle,  tender  irony  at 
the  insanities  of  war  and  politics,  sorrowful  lament  for  the 
bourgeois  loneliness,  delicate  hymns  of  glory  to  God.  And  the 
humor,  the  sharp,  sincere  satire  of  the  "put-on,"  the  mild 
mocking  of  the  pompous,  even  of  one's  own  inevitable  pom- 
posity, even  of  the  ridiculousness  of  teen-age  rock  stars  becom- 
ing holy  men,  and  that's  what  they  really  are. 

The  "put-on,"  the  soft-sell,  the  double-meaning,  easy,  re- 
laxed, laughing  flow  with  the  Tao  stream  of  life— that's  what 
makes  it  hard  to  understand  these  kids.  Our  older  generation 
has  been  enslaved  by  a  heavy,  melodramatic  view  of  life.  Pitiful 
Shakespeare!  All  those  grim,  suffering,  ham-actor  heroes  sweat- 
ing out  the  failure  of  ambition,  the  torments  of  jealousy,  the 
agony  of  wounded  pride,  the  passions  of  unrequited  love.  The 
Western  world  has  been  on  a  bad  trip,  a  400-year  bummer.  War 
heroics.  Guilt.  Puritan  ethics,  grim,  serious,  selfish,  striving. 
Remember,  Mom  and  Dad,  the  songs  of  our  youth?  The  blues. 
The  Stratford-on-Avon  masochistic  ragtime  laments  of  Tin  Pan 
Alley?  Well,  that's  all  over  now.  Daddy  and  Mamma  Blue.  The 
atom  bomb  and  the  electronic  flash  and  the  ecstasy  drugs  have 
held  up  a  million  mocking  mirrors  to  that  struggling,  bloody, 
self-pitying,  self-indulgent,  noble,  lonely,  martyred  stage-TV 
hero  who  is  you,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  America,  and  that's  how  your 
turned-on  kids  see  you  and  why  they  sorrow  for  you  and  wait  to 
turn  you  on. 

But  to  learn  the  lesson  from  your  kids,  you've  got  to  groove 
with  their  electronic-fluid  timeless  point  of  view,  which  is  both 

Drop  Out  or  Cop  Out  [  167 

the  newest  and  the  oldest  human  philosophy,  and  accept  their 
up-revision  of  Shakespeare  in  which  Juliet's  sleeping  potion 
becomes  a  turn-on  sacramental  love  elixir  and  Romeo  took  it 
with  her  in  the  tomb  and  they  laughed  in  ecstatic  revelation 
and  pity  at  that  old  posturing  Montague-Capulet  hang-up,  and 
they  split  together  from  Verona  and  opened  a  lute  shop  in 
Rome  and  stayed  high  forever  after.  And  then  Lady  Bird 
Macbeth  built  a  fire  and  lit  a  candle  and  some  incense  and  put  a 
tender  chant  on  the  stereo  and  rolled  a  joint  of  Scotch  Broom, 
and  she  and  Macbeth  sat  looking  into  the  dancing  flame  and  got 
soft  and  high  and  saw  how  foolish  it  was  to  struggle  for  the 
throne  and  dissolved  into  love  for  each  other  and  for  their  rivals 
and  prayed  for  them. 

Above  all,  to  get  the  message  of  the  future,  sit  down  with  a 
youngster  and  relax  and  tune  in  to  the  new  theme.  You'll  be  shy 
and  awkward.  Your  kid  may  be,  too.  That's  natural.  But  stay 
with  it  and  keep  serene.  Maybe  your  dialogue  will  start  in- 
directly by  listening  together.  The  best  way  for  any  parent  to 
dissolve  fear  and  develop  trust  in  the  youngsters  is  to  get  the 
Beatles'  "Sergeant  Pepper"  album  or  the  Rolling  Stones'  "Sata- 
tanic  Majesties"  and  take  it  humbly  to  a  kid  and  say,  "I've 
heard  that  there's  an  important  message  in  this  record,  but  I 
need  it  explained  to  me.  Will  you  talk  to  me  about  the  Stones 
and  Beatles?"  And  then  get  very  comfortable  and  close  your  eyes 
and  listen  to  the  sermon  from  Liverpool  (it  could  just  as  well 
be  Donovan  or  Dylan  or  the  Jefferson  Airplane)  and  learn  that 
it's  the  oldest  message  of  love  and  peace  and  laughter,  and  trust 
in  God  and  don't  worry,  trust  in  the  future,  and  don't  fight;  and 
trust  in  your  kids,  and  don't  worry  because  it's  all  beautiful  and 


Hormonal  Politics:  The  Menopausal 
Left-Right  and  the  Seed  Center 

The  political  spectrum  which  has  colored  social  attitudes  for  the 
past  300  years  has  decreasing  relevance  today  and  by  1980  will 
have  no  political  meaning. 

Left-Right.  Liberal-Conservative.  Radical-Reactionary.  Com- 
munist-Capitalist. Democratic-Republican.  Whig-Tory.  Labor- 
Management.  White-Colored.  Brooklyn  Dodgers.  Twenty-three 

The  crucial  variable  in  today's  political  equation  is  age.  The 
basic  areas  which  now  divide  men  are  hormonal.  The  key  ques- 
tion to  ask  a  candidate  for  office— or  indeed,  any  person  seeking 
to  influence  public  opinion— has  nothing  to  do  with  Vietnam  or 
Marx  or  John  Birch.  The  issue  which  determines  who  will  be 
elected,  who  will  be  listened  to,  is:  How  much  time  did  you 
spend  making  love  last  week? 

Political  experts  puzzle  over  the  results  of  recent  elections, 
seeking  in  vain  to  find  the  left-right  trend.  But  one  single  and 
simple  clue  will  account,  in  almost  every  case,  for  the  surprises 
and  shifts  in  voting.  Age.  Can  you  think  of  an  election  return  in 
the  last  two  years  which  found  a  potent,  seed-carrying  candidate 
defeated  by  an  oldster? 

The  Kennedy  strategy  board  understands  this  secret.  So  do 
Lindsay  and  Rockefeller. 

War?  Peace?  Taxes?  Race?  Nope.  Wrinkles. 

The  Republican  party  is  making  a  comeback?  Nope.  They 

[  168 

VOL.1  NO.  9 

APRIL    1-15 



looked    m    the    rve*   <>(   tlw 

»"«•-  ing  <rouMtr3  '  ' "«  Swcretirv  of  State  w  «p«'»ki»g  notWi 


If.  5-77(» 

"America  Hates  Her  Crazies"  Front  page  of  the 
East  Village  Other  (Aprii  1-15, 1966). 

"Turn  Off,  Tune  Out,  Drop  In"  Front  page  of 
Berkeley  Barb  {Sept  1-7, 1969). 

Hormonal  Politics:  The  Menopausal  Left-Right  [  169 

have  been  out.  Paunchy,  jowled  Democrats  are  getting  old  in 
office.  Outs  tend  to  run  younger  candidates. 

But  the  Republicans  have  failed  to  capitalize  completely  on 
this  relentless  biological  advantage  because  candidate  choice  is 
still  determined  by  the  most  senile  members  of  the  Grand  Old 
(sic)  Party.  Does  anyone  doubt  that  young,  virile,  baby- 
begetting  Rockefeller  could  have  won  in  1960  and  then  in  1964 
if  the  GOP  had  run  him?  Does  anyone  doubt  that  the  Republi- 
cans would  win  in  1968  if  they  nominated  Percy  or  Lindsay  or 
even  new-father  Rocky? 

This  power  of  hormones  in  the  body  politic  will  steadily 
increase  in  the  next  decade  until  it  becomes  the  only  issue  in 
the  1970's.  The  current  revolution  is  not  economic  or  religious; 
it  is  biological. 

Human  beings  born  after  the  year  1943  belong  to  a  different 
species  from  their  progenitors.  Three  new  energies,  exactly 
symmetrical  and  complementary— atomics,  electronics,  and  psy- 
chedelics— have  produced  an  evolutionary  mutation.  The  re- 
lease of  atomic  energy  placed  the  mysterious  basic  power  of  the 
universe  in  man's  hands.  The  frailty  of  the  visible.  The  power 
of  the  invisible.  Electronic  impulses  link  the  globe  in  an  instan- 
taneous communication  network.  The  circuited  unity  of  man. 
Psychedelic  drugs  release  internal  energy  and  speed  conscious- 
ness in  the  same  exponential  proportions  as  nuclear  and  elec- 
tronic space-time  expansions. 

Our  children  were  born  and  have  developed  in  a  civilization 
as  far  removed  from  that  of  their  parents  as  Des  Moines,  Iowa,  is 
from  ancient  Carthage.  How  few  parents  realized  when  they 
quieted  their  noisy  kids  by  banishing  them  to  the  TV  room  that 
they  were  turning  on  the  little  ones  to  a  mind-blowing  elec- 
tronic experience.  Kiddies  flicking  the  TV  knobs.  Switch  on  the 
news  .  .  .  LBJ  talking  .  .  .  hard  sell  .  .  .  switch  him  off 
.  .  .  Channel  9  .  .  .  cereal  commercial,  hard  sell  .  .  .  switch 
it  off  .  .  .  Channel  3  .  .  .  Super  boy  .  .  .  A-OK.  Movement. 
Change.  Flashing  images.  Simultaneity.  Multiple  choice.  And 
always  the  hard  sell,  the  come-on  promise,  and  the  kids  watch- 
ing warily,  catching  on  to  LBJ's  pitch  and  the  Corn  Flakes 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  170 

pitch,  the  disillusioning  insight  through  the  game  facade  to  the 
inner  essence.  The  inevitable  development  of  the  cool  psy- 
chology. The  hip  one  who  deals  with  the  continual  inundation 
of  shifting  images,  multiplicity  of  channels,  the  bending  of 
space-time  .  .  .  Apollo  rockets  .  .  .  DNA  .  .  .  overpopula- 
tion .  .  .  the  ambiguity  of  good-evil,  rich-poor,  strong-weak. 
.  .  .  The  old  movies  replayed  .  .  .  endless  reminders  of  the 
transience  of  custom  and  moral  .  .  .  did  Dad  and  Mom  really 
dress  like  that  and  dance  like  Fred  Astaire  and  believe  those 
pompous,  bigoted,  red-faced  idiot  politicians?  The  old  movies, 
embarrassingly  rerunning  time  backward  .  .  .  humiliating  cel- 
luloid records  of  parental  capers  .  .  .  reincarnation  history 
best  left  unstudied  if  you  want  to  preserve  naivet^  and  enthusi- 
asm for  the  social  game  and  really  cheer  and  cheat  and  struggle 
for  liberty  and  Notre  Dame  and  the  boys  on  the  battlefront 
fighting  the  Kaiser. 

Spin  faster  and  faster  .  .  .  flip  on  .  .  .  switch  over  .  .  . 
turn  on  .  .  .  compress  time  .  .  .  this  is  CBC  in  Saigon  .  .  . 
space  out  .  .  .  tune  in  .  .  .  focus  .  .  .  change  channels  .  .  . 
adjust  brilliance  .  .  .  stroboscopic  on-off  .  .  .  reality  is  a 
flickering  grid  of  electronic  images  .  .  .  narrow  beam  .  .  . 
stereophonic  .  .  .  sonic  boom  .  .  .  freak  out  .  .  .  put  on 
.  .  .  make  out  .  .  .  turn  on  .  .  .  drop  out  .  .  .  now-then 
.  .  .  here-infinity.  Wow!  The  electronic-atomic  age  is  an  IBM 
psychedelic  trip  kaleidoscopic  rocket  blast  multiphonic  and 
there  is  no  escape  and  no  cop-out,  and  at  age  thirteen  you  are 
confronted  with  the  choice  which  the  slow  linear  game  of  the 
past  allowed  you  to  avoid— robot  or  Buddha,  grin  and  groove 
with  it  or  you  freeze  like  the  smile  on  Shirley  Temple's  face  on 
that  late-night  flick. 

Mao  and  Ho  and  Grand  Charles  and  LBJ  and  Nasser  are  old 
mannikin  figures  from  a  pre-1914  world  which  is  over.  Ta-ta. 
Good-bye  now.  A  shadowy,  dusty,  jerky  black  and  white  news- 
reel  where  men  strutted  and  killed  for  patriotic  virtue,  manifest 
destiny,  abstract  values,  national  prestige,  revolted  against  the 
wicked  and  conquered  the  devil  enemy  who  believed  in  czarism. 
Communism,  Fascism,  Hooverism,  Catholicism,  and  all  the  old. 

Hormonal  Politics:  The  Menopausal  Left-Right  [  171 

dated  chess  moves.  Mao  and  LBJ  are  blood-nerve  brothers, 
twins  of  the  same  steel  bosom;  they  think  alike.  Their  world 
view  is  basically  the  same.  Like  intertwined  quarreling  lovers, 
they  are  both  committed  to  the  same  marriage— capitalism- 
Communism.  Both  drank  oil  from  the  same  maternal  spigot.  All 
the  statesmen  in  the  world  have  more  in  common  with  each 
other  than  with  their  own  grandchildren.  Ho  loves  Reagan; 
they  share  the  same  game  consciousness,  and  they  both  avoid  the 
bright,  far-seeing  eyes  of  their  turned-on  teen-agers.  De  Gaulle 
waltzes  with  Prime  Minister  Wilson,  and  they  both  turn  oflE 
rock  'n'  roll. 

I  remember  the  phone  ringing  at  Millbrook  and  a  voice  with 
a  Russian  accent,  strange  to  me  but  full  of  love  and  confidence 
in  my  love.  "Hello,  Tim?  This  is  Audrey.  Audrey  Voznesensky. 
We  have  never  met  but  we  are  old  friends.  We  have  much  in 
common.  When  can  we  talk?  They  are  giving  me  trouble,  too." 

And  I  remember  the  story  of  Allen  Ginsberg  being  elected 
the  King  of  the  Carnival  in  Prague  and  riding  in  the  float 
cheered  by  a  hundred  thousand  Czech  students  while  the  old 
World  War  II  Gestapo-style  secret  police  watched  and  waited  to 
bust  Allen  alone  on  the  streets  at  midnight  and  deport  him. 

To  a  large  segment,  perhaps  a  majority,  of  our  youth  the 
social  reality  of  the  United  States  makes  little  sense.  They  are 
tuned  to  a  different  electronic  channel.  The  reality  of  a  middle- 
aged  American  is  a  fabrication  of  mass  media.  TV,  newspapers, 
magazines  determine  what  Mom  and  Dad  believe,  like,  dislike, 
desire,  value.  CBS-UPI-AP-Luce— a  million-mouthed  monster 
blindly  feeding  on  its  own  public-opinion-poll  estimates  of  its 
own  desires.  Romney  down.  Reagan  up.  Filter  cigarettes  up. 
American  Motors  down.  This  social  reality  defined  by  elec- 
tronic feedback  is  a  completely  artificial  closed  circuit— a  con- 
sensual paranoia  fabricating  its  own  illusions.  The  struggle  of 

Romney  and  _Reagan  may  fascinate  middle-aged  reporters 
who  write  for  niiddle-aged  editors  in  papers  supported  by 
middle-aged  advertisers  and  purchased  by  middle-aged  readers- 
all  of  whom  convince  each  other  that  there  is  something  real 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  172 

about  the  game  of  Romney  and  Reagan.  But  the  majority  of 
youth  under  twenty-five  don't  read  these  papers.  To  them  the 
ridiculous  sequence  of  posture,  bluff,  deceit,  bluster  we  force 
upon  Romneys  and  Reagans  is  as  dimly  remote  and  insane  as 
the  thrashings  of  Mao  and  anti-Mao  forces  far  away  in  China. 

Who  cares  which  impotent,  tired  old  man  grabs  the  power? 
Johnson?  Kosygin?  What's  the  difference?  To  a  growing  num- 
ber of  youngsters  in  America  and  Russia  the  political  games  of 
the  menopausal  are  ridiculous  and  immoral.  American  and 
Russian  editorial  writers,  equally  middle-aged,  denounce  youth 
for  hooliganism  and  disrespect  for  the  law.  Exactly.  The  hip 
youngsters  on  either  side  of  the  Iron  Curtain  feel  amused 
contempt  for  police,  politicians,  educators,  generals  who 
struggle  to  maintain  by  force  a  preelectronic,  prepsychedelic 
social  ethic  of  war,  worry,  competition,  threat  and  fear. 

The  American  youngster  is  beginning  to  catch  on  to  the 
frightening  fact  (already  known  by  the  veterans  of  the  under- 
ground, the  Negroes,  the  free  artists,  the  delinquent  poor,  and 
the  kids  of  Cuba  and  Russia)  that  the  affluence  and  bribery  of 
things  and  the  carnival  of  televised  athletic  and  political  spec- 
tacles are  the  come-on  for  grim  monolithic  mind-copping  social 
machines,  and  for  those  rebels  who  spurn  the  seductive  bribe 
there  awaits,  on  either  side  of  the  Iron  Curtain,  the  gun  and 
steel  to  coerce  those  who  will  not  conform. 

The  American  youngster  who  chooses  not  to  buy  the  system  is 
confronted  with  a  consciousness-control  tyranny  classically 
Soviet  in  its  disregard  for  his  individuality.  Compulsory  educa- 
tion. Can  you  really  believe  this  phrase,  compulsory  education? 
This  means  that  if  you  don't  go  to  the  state  brainwashing  insti- 
tutes built  by  the  aging,  you  and  your  parents  are  arrested  by 
policemen  who  carry  guns. 

Compulsory  draft.  If  you  don't  want  to  kill  to  support  the 
frightened  policies  of  belligerent  politicians  (hawks,  they  are 
called) ,  you'll  go  behind  steel  bars. 

Compulsory  inhibition  of  individual  freedom  to  dress  and 
move.  The  teen-age  curfew.  Armed  police  arrest  kids  for  being 
in  the  street  even  with  parents'  permission.  My  son  Jack  was 

Hormonal  Politics:  The  Menopausal  Left-Right  [  173 

arrested  and  jailed  along  with  50  other  youngsters  for  walking 
along  Haight  Street  in  San  Francisco.  I  phoned  the  juvenile 

**Why  are  you  holding  my  son?" 

**He's  a  suspected  runaway." 

**He  was  there  with  my  permission.  Now  will  you  release 

"No.  The  law  says  he  must  be  held  until  his  parent  picks  him 

''But  I'm  in  New  York." 

"Sorry,  that's  the  law." 

"You  mean  he  has  no  civil  rights  in  California?  They  can  be 
held  for  no  crime?" 

"That's  right.  Until  they're  eighteen  they  have  no  civil 

"And  after  eighteen  you'll  draft  them,  right?" 

Remember  the  photographs  in  your  paper  last  September  of 
the  high  school  principal  on  his  hands  and  knees  measuring  the 
length  on  the  little  girl's  mini-skirt?  And  the  compulsory  cut- 
ting of  hair? 

The  average  Mom  and  Dad,  sitting  gently  in  front  of  the 
television  set,  are  unaware  of  the  complex  guerrilla  skirmishes 
raging  in  the  streets  outside  the  door  between  the  kids  and  the 
menopausal  society.  The  reflex  instinct  of  distrust  and  suspicion 
of  the  establishment,  the  underground— Negroes,  Mexicans, 
artists,  Puerto  Ricans,  hippies,  kids. 

The  youngsters  see  it.  Skillful  and  experienced  at  handling 
the  media  and  psychedelic  drugs  (on  which  they  were  nursed) , 
they  know  how  to  react.  Take,  for  example,  the  classic  case  of 
the  Monkees. 

Hollywood  executives  decide  to  invent  and  market  an  Ameri- 
can version  of  the  Beatles— the  early,  preprophetic,  cute,  yeh- 
yeh  Beatles.  Got  it?  They  audition  a  hallful  of  candidates  and 
type-cast  four  cute  kids.  Hire  some  songwriters.  Wire  up  the 
Hooper-rating  computer.  What  do  the  screaming  teeny-boppers 
want?  Crank  out  the  product  and  promote  it.  Feed  the  great 
consumer  monster  what  it  thinks  it  wants,  plastic,  syrupy,  tasty. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  174 

marshmallow-filled,  chocolate-coated,  Saran-wrapped,  and  sell  it. 
No  controversy,  no  protest.  No  thinking  strange,  unique 
thoughts.  No  offending  Mom  and  Dad  and  the  advertisers. 
Make  it  silly,  sun-tanned,  grinning  ABC-TV. 

And  what  happened?  The  same  thing  that  happened  to  the 
Beatles.  The  four  young  Monkees  weren't  fooled  for  a  moment. 
They  went  along  with  the  system  but  didn't  buy  it.  Like  all  the 
beautiful  young  sons  of  the  new  age— Peter  Fonda  and  Robert 
Walker  and  young  John  Barrymore  and  young  Steinbeck  and 
the  wise  young  Hitchcocks— the  Monkees  use  the  new  energies 
to  sing  the  new  songs  and  pass  on  the  new  message. 

The  Monkees'  television  show,  for  example.  Oh,  you  thought 
that  was  silly  teen-age  entertainment?  Don't  be  fooled.  While  it 
lasted,  it  was  a  classic  Sufi  put-on.  An  early-Christian  electronic 
satire.  A  mystic-magic  show.  A  jolly  Buddha  laugh  at  hypocrisy. 
At  early  evening  kiddie-time  on  Monday  the  Monkees  would 
rush  through  a  parody  drama,  burlesquing  the  very  shows  that 
glue  Mom  and  Dad  to  the  set  during  prime  time.  Spoofing  the 
movies  and  the  violence  and  the  down-heavy-conflict-emotion 
themes  that  fascinate  the  middle-aged. 

And  woven  into  the  fast-moving  psychedelic  stream  of  action 
were  the  prophetic,  holy,  challenging  words.  Mickey  was  rap 
ping  quickly,  dropping  literary  names,  making  scholarly  refer- 
ences; then  the  sudden  psychedelic  switch  of  the  reality  channel. 
He  looked  straight  at  the  camera,  right  into  your  living  room, 
and  up-leveled  the  comedy  by  saying:  "Pretty  good  talking  for  a 
long-haired  weirdo,  huh,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  America?"  And  then- 
zap.  Flash.  Back  to  the  innocuous  comedy. 

Or,  in  a  spy  drama,  Mickey  warned  Peter:  "Why,  this  involves 
the  responsibility  for  blowing  up  the  entire  world!" 

Peter,  confidentially:  "I'll  take  that  responsibility!" 

And  Mickey,  with  a  glance  at  the  camera,  said,  "Wow!  With  a 
little  more  ego  he'll  be  ready  to  run  for  President." 

Why,  it  all  happened  so  fast,  LB  J,  you  didn't  ever  see  it. 
Suddenly  a  whole  generation  disappeared  right  from  view. 
Flick.  They're  gone!  They  won't  vote  and  they  won't  listen  to 
the  good  old  promises  and  threats,  and  they  won't  answer 

Hormonal  Politics:  The  Menopausal  Left-Right  [  175 

Gallup  polls,  and  they  just  smile  when  we  arrest  them,  and  they 
won't  be  clean-cut,  hard-working,  sincere,  frightened,  ambitious 
boys  like  Khrushchev  and  I  were.  Heyl  Where  did  they  go? 
Flick.  Hey,  McNamara,  fix  this  set!  Ban  LSD  I  Adjust  the  focus 
back,  call  a  joint  meeting  of  Congress.  McNamara,  dammit, 
boy,  fix  this  set.  All  I  get  are  flickering,  dancing  flower  swirls  of 
color,  and  shut  off  that  loud  rock  'n*  roll  beat.  McNamaral 
Westmoreland!  Dammit,  fix  this  set!  All  I  hear  is  the  steady 
drumming  beat  and  laughter,  and  it's  getting  softer  and  it's 
fading  away  in  the  distance.  Hey,  wait  a  minute  I  Come  backl 
Hey,  where  did  they  all  go? 



Poet  of  the  Interior  Journey 

Hermann  Hesse  was  born  in  July  1877  in  the  little  Swabian 
town  of  Calw,  the  son  of  Protestant  missionaries.  His  home 
background  and  education  were  pietistic,  intellectual,  classical. 
He  entered  a  theological  seminary  at  the  age  of  fourteen  with 
the  intention  of  taking  orders  and  left  two  years  later.  In  Basel 
he  learned  the  book  trade  and  made  his  living  as  a  bookseller 
and  editor  of  classical  German  literary  texts.  He  became  ac- 
quainted with  Jacob  Burckhardt,  the  great  Swiss  historian  and 
philosopher,  who  later  served  as  the  model  for  the  portrait  of 
Father  Jacobus  in  The  Bead  Game.  In  1914  Hesse's  "vm patri- 
otic" antiwar  attitude  brought  him  official  censure  and  news- 
paper attacks.  Two  months  after  the  outbreak  of  the  war,  an 
essay  entitled  "O  Freunde,  nicht  diese  Tone"  ("O  Friends,  not 
these  tones")  was  published  in  the  Neue  Ziircher  Zeitung;  it 
was  an  appeal  to  the  youth  of  Germany,  deploring  the  stampede 
to  disaster. 

In  1911  he  traveled  in  India.  From  1914  to  1919  he  lived  in 
Bern,  working  in  the  German  embassy  as  an  assistant  for 
prisoners  of  war.  A  series  of  personal  crises  accompanied  the 
external  crisis  of  the  war:  his  father  died;  his  youngest  son  fell 
seriously  ill;  his  wife  suffered  a  nervous  breakdown  and  was 
hospitalized.  In  1919,  the  year  of  the  publication  of  Demian,  he 
moved  to  the  small  village  of  Montagnola  by  the  Lake  of 
Lugano  and  remained  there  till  the  end  of  his  life.  In  1923  he 

•  Reprinted  from  Psychedelic  Review,  No.  3.  This  paper  was  coauthored  by 
Ralph  Metzner,  editor  of  the  Review. 

[  176 



Timothy  Leary  was  a  co-editor  and  frequent  contributor 
to  The  Psychedelic  Review. 






Re-enactments  of  the  world's  great  religious  myths  using  psychedelic 
methods:  sensory  meditation,  symbol-overload,  media-mix,  molecular 
and  cellular  phrasing,  pantomime,  dance,  sound-light  and  lecture- 


(As  Featured  in  the  September  9th  issue  of  LIFE  Magazine.) 



To  be  presented  on: 


at  8:30 

SEPTEMBER  20,  27 



To  be  presented  on: 


at  8:30 

OCTOBER  18,  25 
NOVEMBER  1.  8 



To  be  presented  on: 


at  8:30 

NOVEMBER  IS,  22.  29 


"Do  You  Want  to  Have  a  Party"  Advertisement  in 
Berkeley  Barb  (July  11, 1969). 

Poet  of  the  Interior  Journey  [  177 

acquired  Swiss  citizenship  and  in  1927  remarried.  Hesse  steeped 
himself  in  Indian  and  Chinese  literature  and  philosophy,  the 
latter  particularly  through  the  masterful  translations  of  Chinese 
texts  by  Richard  Wilhelm.  In  1931  he  remarried  a  third  time 
and  moved  to  another  house  in  Montagnola  which  had  been 
provided  for  him  by  his  friend  H.  C.  Bodmer.  In  1946  he  was 
awarded  the  Nobel  Prize;  in  1962,  at  the  age  of  eighty-five,  he 
died.  Asked  once  what  were  the  most  important  influences  in 
his  life,  he  said  they  were  "the  Christian  and  completely  non- 
nationalist  spirit  of  my  parents*  home,'*  the  "reading  of  the 
great  Chinese  masters,"  and  the  figure  of  the  historian  Jacob 

Few  writers  have  chronicled  with  such  dispassionate  lucidity 
and  fearless  honesty  the  progress  of  the  soul  through  the  states 
of  life.  Peter  Camenzind  (1904),  Demian  (1919),  Siddhartha 
(1922),  Steppenwolf  (1927),  Narziss  und  Goldmund  (1930), 
Journey  to  the  East  (1932),  Magister  Ludi  (1943)— different 
versions  of  spiritual  autobiography,  different  maps  of  the  in- 
terior path.  Each  new  step  revises  the  picture  of  all  the  previous 
steps;  each  experience  opens  up  new  worlds  of  discovery  in  a 
constant  effort  to  communicate  the  vision. 

As  John  Cage  is  fond  of  reminding  us,  writing  is  one  thing 
and  reading  is  another.  All  writings,  all  authors  are  thoroughly 
misunderstood.  Most  wise  men  do  not  write  because  they  know 
this.  The  wise  man  has  penetrated  through  the  verbal  curtain, 
seen  and  known  and  felt  the  life  process.  We  owe  him  our 
gratitude  when  he  remains  with  us  and  tries  to  induce  us  to 
share  the  joy. 

The  great  writer  is  the  wise  man  who  feels  compelled  to 
translate  the  message  into  words.  The  message  is,  of  course, 
around  us  and  in  us  at  all  moments.  Everything  is  a  clue. 
Everything  contains  all  the  message.  To  pass  it  on  in  symbols  is 
unnecessary  but  perhaps  the  greatest  performance  of  man. 

Wise  men  write  {with  deliberation)  in  the  esoteric.  It's  the 
way  of  making  a  rose  or  a  baby.  The  exoteric  form  is  maya,  the 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  178 

hallucinatory  facade.  The  meaning  is  within.  The  greatness  of  a 
great  book  lies  in  the  esoteric,  the  seed  meaning  concealed 
behind  the  net  of  symbols.  All  great  writers  write  the  same 
book,  changing  only  the  exoteric  trappings  of  their  time  and 

Hermann  Hesse  is  one  of  the  great  writers  of  our  time.  He 
wrote  Finnegan's  Wake  in  several  German  versions.  In  addition 
to  being  a  wise  man,  he  could  manipulate  words  well  enough  to 
win  the  Nobel  Prize. 

Most  readers  miss  the  message  of  Hesse.  Entranced  by  the 
pretty  dance  of  plot  and  theme,  they  overlook  the  seed  message. 
Hesse  is  a  trickster.  Like  nature  in  April,  he  dresses  up  his  code 
in  fancy  plumage.  The  literary  reader  picks  the  fruit,  eats 
quickly,  and  tosses  the  core  to  the  ground.  But  the  seed,  the 
electrical  message,  the  code,  is  in  the  core. 

Take  Siddhartha^— the  primer  for  young  bodhisattvas, 
written  when  Hesse  was  forty-five.  Watch  the  old  magician 
warming  up  to  his  work.  We  are  introduced  to  a  proud  young 
man,  strong,  handsome,  supple-limbed,  graceful.  Siddhartha  is 
young  and  ambitious.  He  seeks  to  attain  the  greatest  prize  of 
all— enlightenment.  Cosmic  one-upmanship.  He  masters  each  of 
the  otherworldly  games.  The  Vedas.  Asceticism.  Matches  his 
wits  against  the  Buddha  himself.  Tan  trie  worldly  success.  "We 
find  consolations,  we  learn  tricks  with  which  we  deceive  our- 
selves, but  the  essential  thing— the  way— we  do  not  find."  "Wis- 
dom is  not  communicable."  "I  can  love  a  stone,  Govinda,  and  a 
tree  or  a  piece  of  bark.  These  are  things  and  one  can  love 
things.  But  one  cannot  love  words.  .  .  .  Nirvana  is  not  a  thing; 
there  is  only  the  word  Nirvana."  Then  in  the  last  pages  of  the 
book,  Hermann  Hesse,  Nobel  Prize  novelist,  uses  words  to 
describe  the  wonderful  illumination  of  Govinda,  who 

no  longer  saw  the  face  of  his  friend  Siddhartha.  Instead  he  saw 
other  faces,  many  faces,  a  long  series,  a  continuous  stream  of 
faces— hundreds,  thousands,  which  all  came  and  disappeared 
and  yet  all  seemed  to  be  there  at  the  same  time,  which  all  con- 

Poet  of  the  Interior  Journey  [  179 

tinually  changed  and  renewed  themselves  and  which  were  yet 
all  Siddhartha.  He  saw  the  face  of  a  fish,  of  a  carp,  with 
tremendous  painfully  opened  mouth,  a  dying  fish  with  dimmed 
eyes.  He  saw  the  face  of  a  newly  born  child,  red  and  full  of 
wrinkles,  ready  to  cry.  He  saw  the  face  of  a  murderer,  saw  him 
plunge  a  knife  into  the  body  of  a  man;  at  the  same  moment  he 
saw  this  criminal  kneeling  down,  bound,  and  his  head  cut  oflE 
by  an  executioner.  He  saw  the  naked  bodies  of  men  and  women 
in  the  postures  and  transports  of  passionate  love.  He  saw 
corpses  stretched  out,  still,  cold,  empty.  He  saw  the  heads  of 
animals,  boars,  crocodiles,  elephants,  oxen,  birds.  He  saw 
Krishna  and  Agni.  He  saw  all  these  forms  and  faces  in  a 
thousand  relationships  to  each  other,  all  helping  each  other, 
loving,  hating  and  destroying  each  other  and  become  newly 
born.  Each  one  was  mortal,  a  passionate,  painful  example  of  all 
that  is  transitory.  Yet  none  of  them  died,  they  only  changed, 
were  always  reborn,  continually  had  a  new  face:  only  time 
stood  between  one  face  and  another.  And  all  these  forms  and 
faces  rested,  flowed,  reproduced,  swam  past  and  merged  into 
each  other,  and  over  them  all  there  was  continually  something 
thin,  unreal  and  yet  existing,  stretched  across  like  thin  glass  or 
ice,  like  a  transparent  skin,  shell,  form  or  mask  of  water— and 
this  mask  was  Siddhartha's  smiling  face  which  Govinda  touched 
with  his  lips  at  that  moment.  And  Govinda  saw  that  this  mask- 
like smile,  this  smile  of  unity  over  the  flowing  forms,  this  smile 
of  simultaneousness  over  the  thousands  of  births  and  deaths— 
this  smile  of  Siddhartha— was  exactly  the  same  as  the  calm, 
delicate,  impenetrable,  perhaps  gracious,  perhaps  mocking, 
wise,  thousand-fold  smile  of  Gotama,  the  Buddha,  as  he  had 
perceived  it  with  awe  a  hundred  times.  It  was  in  such  a 
manner,  Govinda  knew,  that  the  Perfect  One  smiled. 

Those  who  have  taken  one  of  the  psychedelic  drugs  may 
recognize  Govinda's  vision  as  a  classic  LSD  sequence.  The  direct 
visual  confrontation  with  the  unity  of  all  men,  the  unity  of  life. 
That  Hesse  can  write  words  such  as  unity,  love.  Nirvana  is  easily 
understood.  Every  Hindu  textbook  gives  you  the  jargon.  But 
his  description  of  the  visual  details  of  the  cosmic  vision,  the 
retinal  specifics,  is  more  impressive.   Whence  came  to  Hesse 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  180 

these  concrete  sensations?  The  similarity  to  the  consciousness- 
expanding  drug  experience  is  startling.  The  specific,  concrete 
"is-ness"  of  the  illuminated  moment  usually  escapes  the  abstract 
philosopher  of  mysticism.  Did  Hesse  reach  this  visionary  state 
himself?  By  meditation?  Spontaneously?  Did  H.H.,  the  novelist 
himself  J  use  the  chemical  path  to  enlightenment? 

The  answer  to  these  questions  is  suggested  in  the  next  lesson 
of  the  master:  Steppenwolf^—a.  novel  of  crisis,  pain,  conflict, 
torture— at  least  on  the  surface.  Hesse  writes  in  a  letter:  "If  my 
life  were  not  a  dangerous  painful  experiment,  if  I  did  not 
constantly  skirt  the  abyss  and  feel  the  void  under  my  feet,  my 
life  would  have  no  meaning  and  I  would  not  have  been  able  to 
write  anything."  Most  readers  sophisticated  in  psychodynamics 
recognize  the  drama  presented— the  conflict  between  ego  and  id, 
between  spirit  and  material  civilization,  the  "wolfish,  satanic 
instincts  that  lurk  within  even  our  civilized  selves,"  as  the  jacket 
of  the  paperback  edition  has  it.  "These  readers  [writes  Hesse] 
have  completely  overlooked  that  above  the  Steppenwolf  and  his 
problematical  life  there  exists  a  second,  higher,  timeless  world 
.  .  .  which  contrasts  the  suffering  of  the  Steppenwolf  with  a 
transpersonal  and  transtemporal  world  of  faith,  that  the  book 
certainly  tells  of  pain  and  suffering  but  is  the  story  of  a  believer 
not  a  tale  of  despair." 

As  in  Siddhartha,  Hesse  involves  the  reader  in  his  fantastic 
tale,  his  ideas,  his  mental  acrobatics,  only  to  show  at  the  end 
that  the  whole  structure  is  illusory  mind  play.  The  mental  rug 
is  suddenly  pulled  out  from  under  the  gullible  psychodynamic 
reader.  This  Zen  trick  is  evident  on  at  least  two  levels  in  the 
Steppenwolf.  First,  in  the  little  "Treatise,"  a  brilliant  portrait 
of  Harry,  the  man  with  two  souls:  the  man— refined,  clever  and 
interesting;  and  the  wolf— savage,  untamable,  dangerous  and 
strong.  The  treatise  describes  his  swings  of  mood,  his  bursts  of 
creativity,  his  ambivalent  relationship  to  the  bourgeoisie,  his 
fascination  with  suicide,  his  inability  to  reconcile  the  two  con- 

Poet  of  the  Interior  Journey  [  181 

flicting  selves.  A  breathtakingly  subtle  psychological  analysis. 
Then,  the  sleight  of  hand: 

There  is  .  .  .  a  fundamental  delusion  to  make  clear.  All 
interpretation,  all  psychology,  all  attempts  to  make  things  com- 
prehensible, require  the  medium  of  theories,  mythologies  and 
lies;  and  a  self-respecting  author  should  .  .  .  dissipate  these 
lies  so  far  as  may  be  in  his  power.  .  .  .  Harry  consists  of  a 
hundred  or  a  thousand  selves,  not  of  two.  His  life  oscillates,  as 
everyone's  does,  not  merely  between  two  poles,  such  as  the 
body  and  the  spirit,  the  saint  and  the  sinner,  but  between 


Man  is  an  onion  made  up  of  a  hundred  integuments,  a  texture 
made  up  of  many  threads.  The  ancient  Asiatics  knew  this  well 
enough,  and  in  the  Buddhist  Yoga  an  exact  technique  was 
devised  for  unmasking  the  illusion  of  the  personality.  The 
human  merry-go-round  sees  many  changes:  the  illusion  that 
cost  India  the  efforts  of  thousands  of  years  to  unmask  is  the 
same  illusion  that  the  West  has  labored  just  as  hard  to  maintain 
and  strengthen. 

The  dualistic  self-image  is  described— the  fascinating  and 
compelling  Freudian  metaphor— and  is  then  exposed  as  a  delu- 
sion, a  limited,  pitiful  perspective,  a  mind  game.  The  second 
example  of  this  trick  occurs  at  the  end  of  the  book.  We  have 
followed  Hesse  in  his  descriptions  of  Harry  as  he  runs  through  a 
series  of  vain  attempts  to  conquer  his  despair— through  alcohol, 
through  sex,  through  music,  through  friendship  with  the  exotic 
musician  Pablo;  finally  he  enters  the  Magic  Theater.  "Price  of 
Admission,  your  Mind."  In  other  words,  a  mind-loss  experience. 

From  a  recess  in  the  wall  [Pablo]  took  three  glasses  and  a 
quaint  little  bottle.  .  .  .  He  filled  the  three  glasses  from  the 
bottle  and  taking  three  long  thin  yellow  cigarettes  from  the 
box  and  a  box  of  matches  from  the  pocket  of  his  silk  jacket  he 
gave  us  a  light.  ...  Its  effect  was  immeasurably  enlivening 
and  delightful— as  though  one  were  filled  with  gas  and  had  no 
longer  any  gravity. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  182 

Pablo  says: 

You  were  striving,  were  you  not,  for  escape?  You  have  a  long- 
ing to  forsake  this  world  and  its  reality  and  to  penetrate  to  a 
reality  more  native  to  you,  to  a  world  beyond  time.  .  .  .  You 
know,  of  course,  where  this  other  world  lies  hidden.  It  is  the 
world  of  your  own  soul  that  you  seek.  Only  within  yourself 
exists  that  other  reality  for  which  you  long.  .  .  .  All  I  can 
give  you  is  the  opportunity,  the  impulse,  the  key.  I  help  you 
to  make  your  own  world  visible.  .  .  .  This  .  .  .  theatre  has 
as  many  doors  into  as  many  boxes  as  you  please,  ten  or  a  hun- 
dred or  a  thousand,  and  behind  each  door  exactly  what  you 
seek  awaits  you.  .  .  .  You  have  no  doubt  guessed  long  since 
that  the  conquest  of  time  and  the  escape  from  reality,  or  how- 
ever else  it  may  be  that  you  choose  to  describe  your  longing, 
means  simply  the  wish  to  be  relieved  of  your  so-called  per- 
sonality. That  is  the  prison  where  you  lie.  And  if  you  enter  the 
theatre  as  you  are,  you  would  see  everything  through  the  eyes 
of  Harry  and  the  old  spectacles  of  the  Steppenwolf.  You  are 
therefore  requested  to  lay  these  spectacles  aside  and  to  be  so 
kind  as  to  leave  your  highly  esteemed  personality  here  in  the 
cloak-room,  where  you  will  find  it  again  when  you  wish.  The 
pleasant  dance  from  which  you  have  just  come,  the  treatise  on 
the  Steppenwolf,  and  the  little  stimulant  that  we  have  only  this 
moment  partaken  of  may  have  sufl&ciently  prepared  you. 

It  seems  clear  that  Hesse  is  describing  a  psychedelic  experience, 
a  drug-induced  loss  of  self,  a  journey  to  the  inner  world.  Each 
door  in  the  Magic  Theater  has  a  sign  on  it,  indicating  the  end- 
less possibilities  of  the  experience.  A  sign  called  "Jolly  Hunting. 
Great  Automobile  Hunt"  initiates  a  fantastic  orgy  of  mechani- 
cal destruction  in  which  Harry  becomes  a  lustful  murderer.  A 
second  sign  reads:  "Guidance  in  the  Building  Up  of  the  Person- 
ality. Success  Guaranteed,"  which  indicates  a  kind  of  chess  game 
in  which  the  pieces  are  the  part  of  the  personality.  Cosmic 
psychotherapy.  "We  demonstrate  to  anyone  whose  soul  has 
fallen  to  pieces  that  he  can  rearrange  these  pieces  of  a  previous 
self  in  what  order  he  pleases,  and  so  attain  to  an  endless  multi- 

Poet  of  the  Interior  Journey  [  183 

plicity  of  moves  in  the  game  of  life."  Another  sign  reads:  *'A11 
Girls  Are  Yours,"  and  carries  Harry  into  inexhaustible  sexual 
fantasies.  The  crisis  of  the  Steppenwolf,  his  inner  conflicts,  his 
despair,  his  morbidity  and  unsatisfied  longing  are  dissolved  in  a 
whirling  kaleidoscope  of  hallucinations.  "I  knew  that  all  the 
hundred  thousand  pieces  of  life's  game  were  in  my  pocket.  A 
glimpse  of  its  meaning  had  stirred  my  reason  and  I  was  deter- 
mined to  begin  the  game  afresh.  I  would  sample  its  tortures 
once  more  and  shudder  again  at  its  senselessness.  I  would 
traverse  not  once  more,  but  often,  the  hell  of  my  inner  being. 
One  day  I  would  be  a  better  hand  at  the  game.  One  day  I  would 
learn  how  to  laugh.  Pablo  was  waiting  for  me,  and  Mozart  too." 

So  Harry  Haller,  the  Steppenwolf,  had  his  psychedelic  ses- 
sion, discovered  instead  of  one  reality,  infinite  realities  within 
the  brain.  He  is  admitted  into  the  select  group  of  those  who 
have  passed  through  the  verbal  curtain  into  other  modes  of 
consciousness.  He  has  joined  the  elite  brotherhood  of  the  illu- 

And  then  what?  Where  do  you  go  from  there?  How  can  the 
holy  sense  of  unity  and  revelation  be  maintained?  Does  one  sink 
back  into  the  somnambulent  world  of  rote  passion,  automated 
action,  egocentricity?  The  poignant  cry  of  ex-league  member 
H.H.:  "That  almost  all  of  u^—and  also  I,  even  I— should  again 
lose  myself  in  the  soundless  deserts  of  mapped  out  reality,  just 
like  officials  and  shop  assistants  who,  after  a  party  or  a  Sunday 
outing,  adapt  themselves  again  to  everyday  business  life!"  These 
are  issues  faced  by  everyone  who  has  passed  into  a  deep,  trans- 
ego  experience.  How  can  we  preserve  the  freshness,  illuminate 
each  second  of  subsequent  life?  How  can  we  maintain  the 
ecstatic  oneness  with  others? 

Throughout  the  ages  mystical  groups  have  formed  to  provide 
social  structure  and  support  for  transcendence.  The  magic 
circle.  Often  secret,  always  persecuted  by  the  sleepwalking  ma- 
jority, these  cults  move  quietly  in  the  background  shadows  of 
history.  The  problem  is,  of  course,  the  amount  of  structure 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  184 

surrounding  the  mystical  spark.  Too  much  too  soon,  and  you 
have  priesthood  ritual  on  your  hands.  And  the  flame  is  gone. 
Too  little,  and  the  teaching  function  is  lost;  the  interpersonal 
unity  drifts  into  gaseous  anarchy.  The  bohemians.  The  beats. 
The  lonely  arrogants. 

Free  from  attachment  to  self,  to  social  games,  to  anthropo- 
morphic humanism,  even  to  life  itself,  the  illuminated  soul  can 
sustain  the  heightened  charge  of  energy  released  by  transcen- 
dent experiences.  But  such  men  are  rare  in  any  century.  The 
rest  of  us  seem  to  need  support  on  the  way.  Men  who  attempt  to 
pursue  the  psychedelic-drug  path  on  their  own  are  underesti- 
mating the  power  and  the  scope  of  the  nervous  system.  A  variety 
of  LSD  casualties  results:  breakdown,  confusion,  grandiosity, 
prima-donna  individualism,  disorganized  eccentricity,  sincere 
knavery  and  retreat  to  conformity.  It  makes  no  more  sense  to 
blame  the  drug  for  such  casualties  than  it  does  to  blame  the 
nuclear  process  for  the  bomb.  Would  it  not  be  more  accurate  to 
lament  our  primitive  tribal  pressures  toward  personal  power, 
success,  individualism? 

Huston  Smith  has  remarked  that  of  the  eightfold  path  of  the 
Buddha,  the  ninth  and  greatest  is  right  association.  The  trans- 
personal  group.  The  consciousness-expansion  community.  Sur- 
round yourself  after  the  vision,  after  the  psychedelic  session, 
with  friends  who  share  the  goal,  who  can  up-level  you  by 
example  or  unitive  love,  who  can  help  reinstate  the  illumi- 

The  sociology  of  transcendence.  Hesse  takes  up  the  problem 
of  the  transpersonal  community  in  the  form  of  the  League  of 
Eastern  Wayfarers.^ 

"It  was  my  destiny  to  join  in  a  great  experience.  Having  had 
the  good  fortune  to  belong  to  the  League,  I  was  permitted  to  be 
a  participant  in  a  unique  journey."  The  narrator,  H.H.,  tells 
that  the  starting  place  of  the  journey  was  Germany,  and  the 
time  shortly  after  World  War  L  "Our  people  at  that  time  were 

Poet  of  the  Interior  Journey  [  185 

lured  by  many  phantoms,  but  there  were  also  many  real  spiri- 
tual advances.  There  were  bacchanalian  dance  societies  and 
Anabaptist  groups,  there  was  one  thing  after  another  that  seemed 
to  point  to  what  was  wonderful  and  beyond  the  veil."  There 
were  also  scientific  and  artistic  groups  engaged  in  the  explora- 
tion of  consciousness-expanding  drugs.  Kurt  Beringer's  mono- 
graph Der  Meskalinrausch^  describes  some  of  the  scientific 
experiments  and  the  creative  applications.  Rene  DaumaFs 
novel  Le  Mont  Analogue^  is  a  symbolic  account  of  a  similar 
league  journey  in  France.  The  participants  were  experimenting 
widely  with  drugs  such  as  hashish,  mescaline  and  carbon  tetra- 

Hesse  never  explicitly  names  any  drugs  in  his  writings,  but 
the  passages  quoted  earlier  from  the  Steppenwolf  are  fairly 
unequivocal  in  stating  that  some  chemical  was  involved  and 
that  it  had  a  rather  direct  relationship  to  the  subsequent  experi- 
ence. Now,  after  this  first  enlightenment,  in  Journey  to  the 
East,  H.H.  tells  of  subsequent  visits  to  the  Magical  Theater. 

We  not  only  wandered  through  Space,  but  also  through  Time. 
We  moved  towards  the  East,  but  we  also  traveled  into  the 
Middle  Ages  and  the  Golden  Age;  we  roamed  through  Italy 
or  Switzerland,  but  at  times  we  also  spent  the  night  in  the 
10th  century  and  dwelt  with  the  patriarchs  or  the  fairies. 
During  the  times  I  remained  alone,  I  often  found  again  places 
and  people  of  my  own  past.  I  wandered  with  my  former 
betrothed  along  the  edges  of  the  forest  of  the  Upper  Rhine, 
caroused  with  friends  of  my  youth  in  Tubingen,  in  Basle  or 
in  Florence,  or  I  was  a  boy  and  went  with  my  school-friends 
to  catch  butterflies  or  to  watch  an  otter,  or  my  company  con- 
sisted of  the  beloved  characters  of  my  books;  .  .  .  For  our  goal 
was  not  only  the  East,  or  rather  the  East  was  not  only  a  country 
and  something  geographical,  but  it  was  the  home  and  youth 
of  the  soul,  it  was  everywhere  and  nowhere,  it  was  the  union 
of  all  times. 

Later  the  link  between  the  Steppenwolf's  drug  liberation  and 
the  league  becomes  more  specific: 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  186 

When  something  precious  and  irretrievable  is  lost,  we  have  the 
feeling  of  having  awakened  from  a  dream.  In  my  case  this 
feeling  is  strangely  correct,  for  my  happiness  did  indeed  arise 
from  the  same  secret  as  the  happiness  in  dreams;  it  arose  from 
the  freedom  to  experience  everything  imaginable  simultane- 
ously, to  exchange  outward  and  inward  easily,  to  move  Time 
and  Space  about  like  scenes  in  a  theatre. 

Hesse  is  always  the  esoteric  hand,  but  there  seems  to  be  little 
doubt  that  beneath  the  surface  of  his  Eastern  allegory  runs  the 
history  of  a  real-life  psychedelic  brotherhood.  The  visionary 
experiences  described  in  Journey  to  the  East  are  identified  by 
location  and  name  of  participants.  A  recently  published  biog- 
raphy® traces  the  connections  between  these  names  and  loca- 
tions and  Hesse's  friends  and  activities  at  the  time. 

And  again  and  again,  in  Swabia,  at  Bodensee,  in  Switzer- 
land, everywhere,  we  met  people  who  understood  us,  or  were 
in  some  way  thankful  that  we  and  our  League  and  our  Journey 
to  the  East  existed.  Amid  the  tramways  and  banks  of  Zurich 
we  came  across  Noah's  Ark  guarded  by  several  old  dogs  which 
all  had  the  same  name,  and  which  were  bravely  guided  across 
the  dangerous  depths  of  a  calm  period  by  Hans  C,  Noah's 
descendant,  friend  of  the  arts. 

Hans  C.  Bodmer  is  Hesse's  friend,  to  whom  the  book  is  dedi- 
cated, and  who  later  bought  the  house  in  Montagnola  for  Hesse. 
He  lived  at  the  time  in  a  house  in  Zurich  named  the  Ark. 

One  of  the  most  beautiful  experiences  was  the  League's 
celebration  in  Bremgarten;  the  magic  circle  surrounded  us 
closely  there.  Received  by  Max  and  Tilli,  the  lords  of  the 
castle.  .  .  . 

Castle  Bremgarten,  near  Bern,  was  the  house  of  Max  Wassmer, 
where  Hesse  was  often  a  guest.  The  "Black  King"  in  Winter- 
thur  refers  to  another  friend,  Georg  Reinhart,  to  whose  house, 
"filled  with  secrets,"  Hesse  was  often  invited.  The  names  of 

Poet  of  the  Interior  Journey  [  187 

artists  and  writers  which  occur  in  Journey  to  the  East  are  all 
either  directly  the  names  of  actual  historical  persons  or  immedi- 
ately derived  from  them:  Lauscher,  Klingsor,  Paul  Klee,  Ninon 
(Hesse's  wife) ,  Hugo  Wolf,  Brentano,  Lindhorst,  etc.  In  other 
words,  it  appears  likely  that  the  scenes  described  are  based  on 
the  actual  experiences  of  a  very  close  group  of  friends  who  met 
in  each  other's  homes  in  southern  Germany  and  Switzerland 
and  pursued  the  journey  to  what  was  "not  only  a  country  and 
something  geographical,  but  it  was  the  home  and  youth  of  the 
soul,  it  was  everywhere  and  nowhere,  it  was  the  union  of  all 

So  the  clues  suggest  that  for  a  moment  in  ''historical  reality" 
a  writer  named  Hermann  Hesse  and  his  friends  wandered 
together  through  the  limitless  pageants  of  expanded  conscious- 
ness, down  through  the  evolutionary  archives.  Then  apparently 
H.H.  loses  contact,  slips  back  to  his  mind  and  his  egocentric 
perspectives.  ''The  pilgrimage  had  shattered  .  .  .  the  magic 
had  then  vanished  more  and  more."  He  has  stumbled  out  of  the 
the  life  stream  into  robot  rationality.  H.H.  wants  to  become  an 
author,  spin  in  words  the  story  of  his  life.  "I,  in  my  simplicity, 
wanted  to  write  the  story  of  the  league,  I,  who  could  not 
decipher  or  understand  one-thousandth  part  of  those  millions  of 
scripts,  books,  pictures  and  references  in  the  archives!"  Ar- 
chives? The  cortical  library? 

What  then  was,  is,  the  league?  Is  it  the  exoteric  society  with  a 
golden-clad  president,  Leo,  maker  of  ointments  and  herbal 
cures,  and  a  speaker,  and  a  high  throne,  and  an  extended 
council  hall?  These  are  but  the  exoteric  trappings.  Is  not  the 
league  rather  the  "procession  of  believers  and  disciples  .  .  .  in- 
cessantly .  .  .  moving  towards  the  East,  towards  the  Home  of 
Light"?  The  eternal  stream  of  life  ever  unfolding.  The  unity  of 
the  evolutionary  process,  too  easily  fragmented  and  frozen  by 
illusions  of  individuality.  "A  very  slow,  smooth  but  continuous 
flowing  or  melting;  .  .  .  It  seemed  that,  in  time,  all  the  sub- 
stance from  one  image  would  flow  into  the  other  and  only  one 
would  remain  .  .  ." 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [188 

Many  who  have  made  direct  contact  with  the  life  process 
through  a  psychedelic  or  spontaneous  mystical  experience  find 
themselves  yearning  for  a  social  structure.  Some  external  form 
to  do  justice  to  transcendental  experiences.  Hermann  Hesse 
again  provides  us  with  the  esoteric  instructions.  Look  within. 
The  league  is  within.  So  is  the  2-billion-year-old  historical 
archive,  your  brain.  Play  it  out  with  those  who  will  dance  with 
you,  but  remember,  the  external  differentiating  forms  are  illu- 
sory. The  union  is  internal.  The  league  is  in  and  around  you  at 
all  times. 

But  to  be  human  is  to  be  rational.  Homo  sapiens  wants  to 
know.  Here  is  the  ancient  tension.  To  be.  To  know.  Well,  the 
magician  has  a  spell  to  weave  here,  too.  The  intellect  divorced 
from  old-fashioned  neurosis,  freed  from  egocentricity,  from 
semantic  reification.  The  mind  illuminated  by  meditation 
ready  to  play  with  the  lawful  rhythm  of  concepts.  The  bead 

The  Bead  Game  (Magister  Ludi)  i'  begun  in  1931,  finished 
eleven  years  later,  was  published  six  months  after  its  comple- 
tion, but  in  Switzerland,  not  Germany.  "In  opposition  to  the 
present  world  I  had  to  show  the  realm  of  mind  and  of  spirit, 
show  it  as  real  and  unconquerable;  thus  my  work  became  a 
Utopia,  the  image  was  projected  into  the  future,  and  to  my 
surprise  the  world  of  Castalia  emerged  almost  by  itself.  Without 
my  knowledge,  it  was  already  preformed  in  my  soul."  Thus 
wrote  Hesse  in  1955.  The  Bead  Game  is  the  synthesis  and  end 
point  of  Hesse's  developing  thought;  all  the  strands  begun  in 
Siddhartha,  Journey  to  the  East,  Steppenwolf  are  woven  to- 
gether into  a  vision  of  a  future  society  of  mystic  game  players. 
The  "players  with  pearls  of  glass"  are  an  elite  of  intellectual 
mystics  who,  analogously  to  the  monastic  orders  of  the  Middle 
Ages,  have  created  a  mountain  retreat  to  preserve  cultural  and 
spiritual  values.  The  core  of  their  practice  is  the  bead  game,  "a 
device  that  comprises  the  complete  contents  and  values  of  our 
culture."  The  game  consists  in  the  manipulation  of  a  complex 
archive  of  symbols  and  formulas,  based  in  their  structure  on 

Poet  of  the  Interior  Journey  [  189 

music  and  mathematics,  by  means  of  which  all  knowledge, 
science,  art  and  culture  can  be  represented. 

This  Game  of  games  .  .  .  has  developed  into  a  kind  of  uni- 
versal speech,  through  the  medium  of  which  the  players  are 
enabled  to  express  values  in  lucid  symbols  and  to  place  them 
in  relation  to  each  other.  ...  A  Game  can  originate,  for 
example,  from  a  given  astronomical  configuration,  a  theme 
from  a  Bach  fugue,  a  phrase  of  Leibnitz  or  from  the  Up- 
anishads,  and  the  fundamental  idea  awakened  can,  according 
to  the  intention  and  talent  of  the  player,  either  proceed  further 
and  be  built  up  or  enriched  through  assonances  to  relative 
concepts.  While  a  moderate  beginner  can,  through  these 
symbols,  formulate  parallels  between  a  piece  of  classical  music 
and  the  formula  of  a  natural  law,  the  adept  and  Master  of  the 
Game  can  lead  the  opening  theme  into  the  freedom  of  bound- 
less combinations. 

The  old  dream  of  a  universitas,  a  synthesis  of  human  knowl- 
edge, combining  analysis  and  intuition,  science  and  art,  the  play 
of  the  free  intellect,  governed  by  aesthetic  and  structural  anal- 
ogies, not  by  the  demands  of  application  and  technology.  Again, 
on  the  intellectual  plane,  the  problem  is  always  just  how  much 
structure  the  mind  game  should  have.  If  there  are  no  overall 
goals  or  rules,  we  have  ever-increasing  specialization  and  disper- 
sion, breakdown  in  communication,  a  Babel  of  cultures,  mul- 
tiple constrictions  of  the  range  in  favor  of  deepening  the 
specialized  field.  Psychology.  If  there  is  too  much  structure  or 
overinvestment  in  the  game  goals,  we  have  dogmatism,  stifling 
conformity,  ever-increasing  triviality  of  concerns,  adulation  of 
sheer  techniques,  virtuosity  at  the  expense  of  understanding. 

In  the  history  of  the  bead  game,  the  author  explains,  the 
practice  of  meditation  was  introduced  by  the  League  of  Eastern 
Wayfarers  in  reaction  against  mere  intellectual  virtuosity.  After 
each  move  in  the  game  a  period  of  silent  meditation  was 
observed;  the  origins  and  meanings  of  the  symbols  involved 
were  slowly  absorbed  by  the  players.  Joseph  Knecht,  the  Game 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  190 

Master,  whose  life  is  described  in  the  book,  sums  up  the  effect  as 

The  Game,  as  I  interpret  it,  encompasses  the  player  at  the 
conclusion  of  his  meditation  in  the  same  way  as  the  surface  of 
a  sphere  encloses  its  centre,  and  leaves  him  with  the  feeling  of 
having  resolved  the  fortuitous  and  chaotic  world  into  one  that 
is  symmetrical  and  harmonious. 

Groups  which  attempt  to  apply  psychedelic  experiences  to 
social  living  will  find  in  the  story  of  Castalia  all  the  features  and 
problems  which  such  attempts  inevitably  encounter:  the  need 
for  a  new  language  or  set  of  symbols  to  do  justice  to  the  incred- 
ible complexity  and  power  of  the  human  cerebral  machinery; 
the  central  importance  of  maintaining  direct  contact  with  the 
regenerative  forces  of  the  life  process  through  meditation  or 
other  methods  of  altering  consciousness;  the  crucial  and  essen- 
tially insoluble  problem  of  the  relation  of  the  mystic  com- 
munity to  the  world  at  large.  Can  the  order  remain  an  educative, 
spiritual  force  in  the  society,  or  must  it  degenerate  through 
isolation  and  inattention  to  a  detached,  alienated  group  of 
idealists?  Every  major  and  minor  social  renaissance  has 
had  to  face  this  problem.  Hesse's  answer  is  clear:  the  last  part  of 
the  book  consists  of  three  tales,  allegedly  written  by  Knecht, 
describing  his  life  in  different  incarnations.  In  each  one  the 
hero  devotes  himself  wholeheartedly  to  the  service  and  pursuit 
of  an  idealist,  spiritual  goal,  only  to  recognize  at  the  end  that 
he  has  become  the  slave  of  his  own  delusions.  In  "The  Indian 
Life"  this  is  clearest:  Dasa,  the  young  Brahmin,  meets  a  yogi 
who  asks  him  to  fetch  water;  by  the  stream  Dasa  falls  asleep. 
Later  he  marries,  becomes  a  prince,  has  children,  wages  war, 
pursues  learning,  is  defeated,  hurt,  humiliated,  imprisoned, 
dies— and  wakes  up  by  the  stream  in  the  forest  to  discover  that 
everything  had  been  an  illusion. 

Everything  had  been  displaced  in  time  and  everything  had 
been  telescoped  within  the  twinkling  of  an  eye:  everything  was 
a  dream,  even  that  which  had  seemed  dire  truth  and  perhaps 

Poet  of  the  Interior  Journey  [  191 

also  all  that  which  had  happened  previously— the  story  of  the 
prince's  son  Dasa,  his  cowherd's  life,  his  marriage,  his  revenge 
upon  Nala  and  his  sojourn  with  the  Yogi.  They  were  all 
pictures  such  as  one  may  admire  on  a  carved  palace  wall,  where 
flowers,  stars,  birds,  apes  and  gods  can  be  seen  portrayed  in 
bas-relief.  Was  not  all  that  which  he  had  most  recently  ex- 
perienced and  now  had  before  his  eyes— this  awakening  out  of 
his  dream  of  princehood,  war  and  prison,  this  standing  by  the 
spring,  this  water  bowl  which  he  had  just  shaken,  along  with  the 
thoughts  he  was  now  thinking— ultimately  woven  of  the  same 
stuff?  Was  it  not  dream,  illusion,  Maya?  And  what  he  was  about 
to  live  in  the  future,  see  with  his  eyes  and  feel  with  his  hands 
until  death  should  come— was  that  of  other  stuff,  of  some  other 
fashion?  It  was  a  game  and  a  delusion,  foam  and  dream,  it  was 
Maya,  the  whole  beautiful,  dreadful,  enchanting  and  desperate 
kaleidoscope  of  life  with  its  burning  joys  and  sorrows. 

The  life  of  Joseph  Knecht  is  described  as  a  series  of  awaken- 
ings from  the  time  he  is  "called"  to  enter  the  Castalian  hier- 
archy ("Knecht"  in  German  means  "servant") ,  through  his 
period  as  Magister  Ludi,  to  his  eventual  renunciation  of  the 
order  and  the  game.  Castalia  is  essentially  the  league,  frozen 
into  a  social  institution.  Again  the  trickster  involves  us  in  his 
magnificent  Utopian  vision,  the  "Game  of  games,"  only  to  show 
at  the  end  the  transience  of  this  form  as  of  all  others.  Having 
reached  the  highest  position  possible  in  the  order,  Knecht 
resigns  his  post.  He  warns  the  order  of  its  lack  of  contact  with 
the  outside  world  and  points  out  that  Castalia,  like  any  other 
social  form,  is  limited  in  time.  In  his  justificatory  speech  he 
refers  to  "a  kind  of  spiritual  experience  which  I  have  under- 
gone from  time  to  time  and  which  I  call  'awakening.'  " 

I  have  never  thought  of  these  awakenings  as  manifestations  of 
a  God  or  a  demon  or  even  of  an  absolute  truth.  What  gives 
them  weight  and  credibility  is  not  their  contact  with  truth, 
their  high  origin,  their  divinity  or  anything  in  that  nature,  but 
their  reality.  They  are  monstrously  real  in  their  presence  and 
inescapability,  like  some  violent  bodily  pain  or  surprising 
natural  phenomenon.  .  .  .  My  life,  as  I  saw  it,  was  to  be  a 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  192 

transcendence,  a  progress  from  step  to  step,  a  series  of  realms 
to  be  traversed  and  left  behind  one  after  another,  just  as  a 
piece  of  music  perfects,  completes  and  leaves  behind  theme  after 
theme,  tempo  after  tempo,  never  tired,  never  sleeping,  always 
aware  and  always  perfect  in  the  present.  I  had  noticed  that, 
coincidental  with  the  experience  of  awakening,  there  actually 
were  such  steps  and  realms,  and  that  each  time  a  life  stage  was 
coming  to  an  end  it  was  fraught  with  decay  and  a  desire  for 
death  before  leading  to  a  new  realm,  and  awakening  and  to  a 
new  beginning. 

The  mystic  or  visionary  is  always  in  opposition  to  or  outside  of 
social  institutions,  and  even  if  the  institution  is  the  most  perfect 
imaginable,  the  game  of  games,  even  if  it  is  the  one  created  by 
oneself,  this  too  is  transient,  limited,  another  realm  to  be 
traversed.  After  leaving  Castalia,  Knecht  wanders  off  on  foot: 

It  was  all  perfectly  new  again,  mysterious  and  of  great  promise; 
everything  that  had  once  been  could  be  revived,  and  much  that 
was  new  besides.  It  seemed  ages  since  the  day  and  the  world  had 
looked  so  beautiful,  innocent  and  undismayed.  The  joy  of  free- 
dom and  independence  flowed  through  his  veins  like  a  strong 
potion,  and  he  recalled  how  long  it  was  since  he  had  felt  this 
precious  sensation,  this  lovely  and  enchanting  illusion! 

So  there  it  is.  The  saga  of  H.H.  The  critics  tell  us  that  Hesse 
is  the  master  novelist.  Well,  maybe.  But  the  novel  is  a  social 
form,  and  the  social  in  Hesse  is  exoteric.  At  another  level  Hesse 
is  the  master  guide  to  the  psychedelic  experience  and  its  appli- 
cation. Before  your  LSD  session,  read  Siddhartha  and  Steppen- 
wolf.  The  last  part  of  the  Steppenwolf  is  a  priceless  manual. 

Then  when  you  face  the  problem  of  integrating  your  visions 
with  the  plastic-doll  routine  of  your  life,  study  Journey  to  the 
East.  Find  yourself  a  magic  circle.  League  members  await  you 
on  all  sides.  With  more  psychedelic  experience,  you  will  grapple 
with  the  problem  of  language  and  communication,  and  your 
thoughts  and  your  actions  will  be  multiplied  in  creative  com- 
plexity as  you  learn  how  to  play  with  the  interdisciplinary 
symbols,  the  multilevel  metaphors.  The  bead  game. 

Poet  of  the  Interior  Journey  [  193 

But  always,  Hesse  reminds  us,  stay  close  to  the  internal  core. 
The  mystic  formulas,  the  league,  the  staggeringly  rich  intellec- 
tual potentials  are  deadening  traps  if  the  internal  flame  is  not 
kept  burning.  The  flame  is  of  course  always  there,  within  and 
without,  surrounding  us,  keeping  us  alive.  Our  only  task  is  to 
keep  tuned  in. 

Did  Hesse  Use  Mind-Changing  Drugs? 

Although  the  argument  of  the  preceding  commentary  does  not 
depend  on  the  answer  to  this  question,  there  are  sufficient  clues 
in  Hesse's  writings  to  make  the  matter  of  some  historical  and 
literary  interest.  In  Germany,  at  the  time  Hesse  was  writing, 
considerable  research  on  mescaline  was  going  on.  This  has  been 
reported  in  a  monograph  by  Kurt  Beringer,  Der  Meskalin- 
rausch.  Much  of  the  material  was  also  analyzed  in  Heinrich 
Kliiver's  monograph.  Mescal,  the  first  book  on  mescaline  pub- 
lished in  English.* 

In  response  to  our  inquiry.  Professor  Kliiver,  now  at  the 
University  of  Chicago,  has  written: 

To  my  knowledge  Hermann  Hesse  never  took  mescaline  (I 
once  raised  this  question  in  Switzerland) .  I  do  not  know 
whether  he  even  knew  of  the  mescaline  experiments  going  on 
under  the  direction  of  Beringer  in  Heidelberg.  You  know,  of 
course,  that  Hesse  (and  his  family)  was  intimately  acquainted 
with  the  world  and  ideas  of  India.  This  no  doubt  has  colored 
many  scenes  in  his  books. 


1  Hermann  Hesse,  Siddhartha,  trans,  by  Hilda  Rosner  (New  York,  New 
Directions,  1957),  pp.  20,  144,  147,  151-53. 

2 ,  Steppenwolf,  trans,  by  Basil  Creighton  (New  York,  Random  House, 

1963) ,  pp.  vi,  62,  63,  66-67,  197-99,  217,  246. 

3 ,  The  Journey  to  the  East,  trans,  by  Hilda  Rosner    (New  York, 

Noonday  Press,  1957) ,  pp.  3,  10,  27-28,  29,  31,  96,  118. 

•  Mescal:  The  "Divine"  Plant  and  Its  Psychological  Effects  (University  of  Chi- 
cago Press,  1964) . 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  194 

*  Kurt  Beringer,  Der  Meskalinrausch,  seine  Geschichte  und  Erscheinungs- 
weise  (Berlin,  Springer,  1927) . 

5  Ren^  Daumal,  Mount  Analogue:  An  Authentic  Narrative,  trans,  and 
intro.  by  Roger  Shattuck;  postface  by  V^ra  Daumal  (New  York,  Pantheon, 
1960) . 

6  Bernhard  Zeller,  Hermann  Hesse:  Eine  Chronik  in  Bildern  (Frankfurt, 
Suhrkamp,  1960) . 

7  Hermann  Hesse,  Magister  Ludi  (The  Bead  Game) ,  trans,  by  Mervyn 
Savill  (New  York,  Ungar,  1957),  pp.  10,  17.  39,  355-56,  359,  367,  500-01. 



A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner' 

Krassner:  I'd  like  to  try  not  posing  a  single  question  youVe 
ever  been  asked  before. 

Leary;  Okay,  and  I'll  try  not  to  give  any  answer  I've  ever 
given  before. 

Krassner:  Do  you  think  you  would've  been  fired  by  Harvard 
for  being  AWOL  if  you  hadn't  conducted  experiments  with 
LSD  that  resulted  in  unfavorable  publicity? 

Leary:  Of  course  not. 

Krassner:  A  lot  of  people  smoke  pot  for  what  they  consider 
pleasure,  simply  to  get  high.  Are  you  copping  out  on  them  by 
fighting  your  marijuana  case  on  the  grounds  of  religious 

Leary:  They  have  a  perfect  right  to  defend  their  use  of 
marijuana  or  LSD  as  an  instrument  for  getting  high.  The  pur- 
suit of  happiness  is  the  first  sentence  in  the  Declaration  of  Inde- 
pendence, which  founded  this  republic.  But  most  people  who 
use  LSD  and  marijuana  to  get  high  don't  really  know  how  to  do 
it,  because  the  science  and  discipline  of  ecstasy  is  probably  the 
most  demanding  yoga  that  I  can  think  of. 

People  who  criticize  my  use  of  the  First  Amendment— that  is, 
religious  belief  and  practice— as  a  defense  of  my  smoking  mari- 
juana and  using  LSD  simply  don't  understand  what  religion 
means,  or  they  have  a  very  narrow  Western,  Protestant-Catholic- 
Jewish  concept  of  religion. 

•  Reprinted  from  the  Realist,  September  1966. 

[  195 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  196 

My  philosophy  of  life  has  been  tremendously  influenced  by 
my  study  of  oriental  philosophy  and  religion.  Of  course,  what 
the  American,  regardless  of  his  religious  belief,  doesn't  under- 
stand is  that  the  aim  of  oriental  religion  is  to  get  high,  to  have 
an  ecstasy,  to  tune  in,  to  turn  on,  to  contact  incredible  diversity, 
beauty,  living,  pulsating  meaning  of  the  sense  organs,  and  the 
much  more  complicated  and  pleasurable  and  revelatory  mes- 
sages of  cellular  energy. 

To  a  Hindu,  the  spiritual  quest  is  internal. 

Different  sects  of  oriental  religion  use  different  methods  and 
different  body  organs  to  find  God.  The  Shivites  use  the  senses; 
the  followers  of  Vishnu  are  concerned  with  cellular  wisdom, 
contacting  the  endless  flow  of  reincarnation  wisdom  which 
biochemists  would  call  protein  wisdom  of  the  DNA  code;  Bud- 
dhist manuals  on  consciousness  expansion  are  concerned  with 
the  flash,  the  white  light  of  the  void,  the  ecstatic  union  that 
comes  when  you're  completely  turned  on,  beyond  the  senses, 
beyond  the  body. 

Another  misconception  about  religion  and  my  use  of  the 
First  Amendment  has  to  do  with  the  institutional  and  establish- 
ment concept  that  Westerners  have  of  religion.  People  that  use 
marijuana  and  LSD  in  their  own  homes  or  their  own  gardens 
say,  "What  does  this  have  to  do  with  religion?"  Because  religion 
to  them  means  priests,  Bibles,  churches,  Sunday  schools,  sects, 
rules  and  regulations. 

To  most  Orientals  the  sacred  temple  of  religion  is  your  own 
body.  The  shrine  is  in  your  own  home.  Your  priest  or  teacher  or 
guru  is  someone  with  whom  you  live  and  share  most  of  the  joys 
and  frustrations  of  daily  life. 

There's  another  aspect  of  this  religious  definition  of  the  cel- 
lular experience:  it  requires  time,  training,  practice  and  disci- 
pline to  really  use  your  sense  organs,  to  be  able  to  focus  in  on 
your  cells;  to  move  your  consciousness  from  one  type  of  ecstasy 
to  another  requires  knowledge  and  guidance. 

To  really  use  the  instrument  of  your  body  and  the  millions  of 
sensory  and  cellular  cameras  with  which  you're  endowed  re- 

A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  [  197 

quires  know-how,  and  in  the  East  these  technical  manuals  are 
called  textbooks  of  yoga  or  religious  illumination. 

So  just  turning  on  with  pot  or  LSD  in  a  spontaneous  manner 
in  your  home  can  be  pleasant  and  even  revealing.  For  most 
people,  it's  a  failure  to  pay  respect  to  the  potentialities  of  the 
nervous  system  and  the  cells  and  the  powers  of  the  psychedelic 
drugs  like  marijuana  and  LSD  to  open  up  these  complex 

Krassner:  Let's  assume  you  win  your  case;  what  would  be 
the  implications  for  the  pot  smoker  who  wouldn't  use  religious 
freedom  as  a  defense? 

Leary:  It  just  so  happened  that  I  had  been  initiated  by  a 
Hindu  guru,  but  you  can  join  Art  Kleps'  Neo-American 
Church,  you  can  declare  your  own  religion  with  you  and  your 
wife.  There  is  a  lot  of  precedent.  Supreme  Court  rulings,  that 
religious  beliefs  and  practices  are  an  individual  matter.  The 
atheist  who  believes  in  pacifism  can  claim  to  be  a  conscientious 
objector.  This  was  a  monumental  decision  by  Justice  Douglas.  I 
don't  want  to  come  on  as  a  lawyer,  but  .  .  . 

Krassner:  Lenny  Bruce  did,  why  not  you? 

Leary:  Lenny  did  it,  so  why  should  I?  But  I  would  like  to 
tell  your  readers  that  it's  left  to  them  to  work  out  their  solution, 
and  if  they  believe  in  it,  they  will  win. 

The  great  lesson  you  learn  from  LSD,  from  contacting  your 
cells,  is  that  every  generation  has  to  reenact  the  whole  evolu- 
tionary drama,  and  to  live  a  full  life  you  have  to  go  through  the 
whole  sequence  yourself.  If  you  don't,  you've  sold  out  on  the 
range  of  possibilities  and  challenges. 

You  have  to  be  Moses,  you  have  to  hammer  out  your  own 
ethical  code.  You  have  to  be  Bishop  Berkeley  and  hammer  out 
your  solution  to  the  problem  of  matter  and  idea.  You  have  to  be 
Plato.  All  the  solutions  you  read  about  in  textbooks  are  canned, 
static  and  meaningless. 

You've  got  to  fight  your  own  defense  of  your  religion  because 
every  man  in  history  has  to  do  it.  Most  people  in  history,  most 
Americans,  don't  realize  this  and  aren't  willing  to  do  it. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  198 

I'm  fighting  my  case  on  the  unique  constellation  of  activities 
that  I've  engaged  in— and  it's  a  damn  good  case— but  I  would 
think  that  any  pot  smoker  who  really  understands  the  poten- 
tialities of  the  energies  he's  releasing  and  the  power  of  that 
benign  plant  he  inhales  has  got  a  constitutional  case. 

If  he  doesn't  understand  it,  he's  just  smoking  pot,  not  for 
kicks,  but  because  it's  the  hip  game  to  play,  and  if  that's  the 
level  he  wants  to  stay  on,  then  he's  going  to  cop  out,  and  he 
won't  fight  his  case  in  his  own  mind  or  with  the  law. 

Krassner:  But  don't  you  think  that  winning  your  case  on 
religious  grounds  might  preclude  their  legal  right  to  smoke  pot 
simply  for  kicks? 

Leary:  My  case  is  not  based  just  on  the  religious  belief. 
There  are  three  issues  involved: 

My  right  to  pursue  my  spiritual  quests  with  the  methods  and 
the  maps  that  make  sense  to  me— that's  the  religious. 

Number  two,  I  have  a  right  to  pursue  knowledge— not  just 
because  I'm  a  psychologist,  but  because  a  psychologist  should  be 
doing  (most  of  them  aren't)  what  every  human  being  should  be 
doing— trying  to  figure  out,  what  is  it  all  about?  Pursuit  of 

The  third  ground  upon  which  I  defend  my  use  of  marijuana 
is  my  right  to  live  in  my  home  and  raise  my  kids  and  live  my 
family  life  according  to  my  best  beliefs  and  my  conscience. 

So  long  as  none  of  these  three— religious,  scientific  or  personal 
—activities  produce  any  visible  harm  to  my  fellow  man. 

Now,  the  lawyers  have  picked  up  on  the  first— that  is,  the 
spiritual  quest,  or  the  religious  issue— because  as  lawyers,  they 
want  to  win  the  case,  and  there's  a  long  tradition  in  our  country 
of  religious  freedom.  So  there's  precedent  there. 

I've  had  several  debates  with  my  lawyers.  I've  said,  "Well, 
really,  I'd  rather  go  up  on  the  scientific  issue  because  most  of 
my  adult  life  has  been  devoted  to  this  quest."  They  say,  "Yes, 
but  you're  really  writing  totally  new  law  there." 

Granted  that  the  Constitution  should  provide  for  the  right  to 
pursue  knowledge,  and  it  does— in  religion.  When  you  get  to 
the  right  to  raise  your  kids  and  to  live  your  family  life  the  way 

A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  [  199 

you  want  to,  that  may  come  into  the  Ninth  Amendment,  which 
is  vaguely  the  constitutional  right  to  privacy,  but  each  of  these 
issues  requires  an  enormous  amount  of  legal  scholarship,  and 
the  lawyers  have  chosen  the  religious,  admitting  that  the  scien- 
tific and  the  personal  will  have  their  day  in  court. 

I  cannot  fight  all  of  these  cases,  and  I  cannot  test  all  of  the 
ambiguities  and  the  blind  spots  in  constitutional  protection, 
but  my  case  is  going  to  be  the  first  of  many  victories  on  all  of 
these  constitutional  rights,  which  come  down  to  the  issue  of  if 
you  want  to  smoke  marijuana  because  you  and  your  wife  can 
make  love  more  effectively  that  way,  or  because  it  tunes  you  on 
to  music  more,  or  because  you  enjoy  your  garden  more,  you 
have  a  constitutional  right  to  do  that.  But  I  can't  fight  all  these 
issues,  and  my  lawyers  can't. 

We  see  this  as  a  broad  civil  liberties  campaign,  and  as  I  try  to 
explain  to  my  hipster  friends,  everything  in  life  takes  place  cell 
by  cell,  step  by  step,  and  you  have  to  win  case  by  case.  I  pre- 
dict that  there  will  be  hundreds  of  civil  liberties  cases  concern- 
ing the  right  of  an  individual  to  change  his  own  consciousness 
for  exactly  the  goals  and  purposes  that  he  wants. 

See,  I  don't  pretend  to  be  a  lawyer,  but  I  do  have  a  cellular, 
intuitive  sense  about  where  law,  which  is  necessary  to  protect 
society,  stops  and  where  individual  growth,  which  is  necessary  to 
keep  society  going,  begins. 

Krassner:  Now  your  hipster  friends  will  accuse  you  of  cop- 
ping out  because  you  said  that  some  day  there'll  come  a  case 
based  on  the  right  to  smoke  pot  because  a  man  and  his  wife  can 
make  love  more  effectively— you  know,  why  do  they  have  to  be 

Leary:  Well,  the  district  attorneys  were  questioning  children 
in  my  household  today  in  a  grand  jury  hearing  about  sleeping 
habits  in  my  house,  so  we're  already  into  that,  but  I'm  sure  that 
will  come  up. 

Krassner:  Someone  in  the  Timothy  Leary  Defense  Fund 
office  earlier  said,  "Why,  that's  corrupting  the  morals  of  a 
minor.  It's  putting  thoughts  into  her  mind  which  might  not 
have  been  there." 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  200 

Leary:  They're  there.  Because  the  younger  the  person,  the 
more  in  tune  they  are  with  their  cells. 

Krassner:  I  wonder  if  what  I  would  call  your  form  of 
mysticism  isn't  just  a  semantic  difference  between  us.  Now  I 
believe  that  there  are  only  individual  consciousnesses;  do  you 
believe  that  God— or  if  you  will,  the  universe— is  conscious  of  its 

Leary:  I  think  that  there  are  exquisite  and  complex  har- 
monies at  many  different  levels  of  energy  in  the  universe  and 
that  this  harmony  involves  a  consciousness  of  the  interwoven- 
ness  of  organic  life  and  inorganic  life.  I  think,  though,  that  this 
incredible  process  of  evolution  is  continually  surprising  itself 
and  amazing  itself  and  delighting  itself  and  freaking  itself  out 
with  what  it's  doing.  But  is  there  one  central  computer  that's 
planning  it  all  or  can  sum  it  all  up  in  one  moment?  I  don't 
think  so. 

Krassner:  When  you  say  "delighting  itself,  amazing  itself," 
you're  implying  that  there's  an  awareness  of  what  it's  doing. 

Leary:  But  it's  out  of  control.  There's  an  awareness  not  of 
what  it's  doing;  there's  an  awareness  of  what's  happening.  God 
exists  at  every  level  of  consciousness. 

At  the  verbal  symbolic  level,  God  is  the  word  g-o-d  which  is 
the  center  of  the  verbal  network  of  the  verbal  mandala. 

At  the  level  of  your  senses,  God  is  the  central  drone  or  the 
center  of  the  sensory  mandala— is  the  orgasm  center,  if  you  will. 

At  the  level  of  cell,  God  is  the  DNA  code  because  the  DNA 
code,  as  biochemists  describe  it,  is  all  the  attributes  that  we  have 
attributed  to  God:  the  all-powerful,  ever-changing  intelligence 
far  greater  than  man's  mind  which  is  continually  manifesting 
itself  in  different  forms.  Well,  man,  that's  what  the  genetic  code 
has  been  doing  for  2  billion  years. 

Then  very  sophisticated  biophysicists  like  Andrew  Cochran 
tell  us  that  so-called  inorganic  matter— molecules  and  atomic 
structures— have  the  same  game  going,  that  the  nucleus  of  the 
atom  is  God  at  that  level,  it's  always  invisible,  God  is  always  the 
smallest  and  the  most  central.  .  .  . 

Krassner:  Wait,  before  we  get  too  abstract.  What  I'm  really 

A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  [  201 

asking  boils  down  to  this:  YouVe  gone  on  record  as  saying  that 
you  talk  to  trees;  what  I  want  to  know  is,  do  the  trees  hear  what 
you're  saying  to  them? 

Leary:  Well,  I  hear  what  the  trees  are  telling  me.  I  listen  to 
trees.  Whether  they  hear  me,  I  don't  know.  You'd  have  to  ask  a 
tree.  I  think  they  do. 

There  was  an  expert  gardener  in  a  little  orchard  we  have  at 
Millbrook,  who  was  talking  about  cutting  down  some  of  the 
apple  trees  that  I've  been  pruning  and  talking  to  for  a  couple  of 
years  now,  because  they're  old  and  not  producing  and  the  ap- 
ples are  sour— he  had  all  sorts  of  reasons.  He  wanted  to  bring  in 
a  lot  of  dwarf  apples  to  make  a  lot  of  money. 

I  looked  around  and  I  said,  "You  realize  this  is  a  very  reckless 
conversation  you're  involved  in." 

"Yeah,  the  trees  can  hear,  right?" 

And  I  said,  "You  notice  that  I've  said  nothing  except  friendly 
and  protective  things  about  these  trees.  There's  no  testimony 
from  me.  .  .  ." 

Yes,  I  listen  to  the  trees  and  hear  what  they  say  and  I  think 
that  they  hear  what  I  say.  Not  what  I  say,  since  trees  don't  speak 
English,  but  the  trees  are  very  aware  of  what  I'm  doing  to  them 
and  to  the  ground  around  them.  And  by  me  I  don't  mean 
Timothy  Leary.  They  don't  talk  that  language. 

Krassner:  Look,  you're  deaf  in  one  ear,  so  if  you  lie  with 
your  good  ear  to  the  pillow,  you  can  shut  out  sound— you  can't 
hear  a  tree  or  a  person.  Now  if  a  tree  has  no  ears,  by  what 
process  does  it  get  your  message? 

Leary:  A  tree  doesn't  speak  in  sound  waves.  When  I  listen  to 
a  tree,  I  don't  listen  with  my  ear.  When  I  talk  to  the  trees,  I 
don't  talk  in  words  or  language. 

Krassner:  But  you  really  do  believe  that  the  tree  is  aware? 

Leary:  Yes.  When  I  walk  out  in  any  garden  or  field  in  Mill- 
brook,  I'm  convinced  that  the  vegetative  life  there  is  aware  of 
my  presence,  and  I'm  sending  out  vibrations  which  they  pick 

Krassner:  And  somebody  else  would  send  out  different  vi- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  202 

Leary:  Yup. 

Krassner:  Then  maybe  there's  truth  to  the  old  superstition 
that  a  menstruating  woman  can  affect  plant  growth? 

Leary:  I  think  it's  possible.  I  would  parenthetically  suggest 
that  we  review  a  lot  of  so-called  superstitions  and  primitive 
beliefs,  and  we'd  find  they're  based  upon  cellular  wisdom. 

But  you  see,  the  embarrassing  facts  of  the  matter  are  that  the 
DNA  code  which  designed  you  is  not  that  different  from  the 
DNA  code  that  designed  a  tree.  There  are  some  obvious  prod- 
uct-packaging differences,  but  they're  both  strands  of  living 
protein  planfulness  that  go  back  to  a  common  origin. 

Krassner:  But  without  the  brain  I  would  have  no  conscious- 
ness ...  or  don't  you  accept  that  premise? 

Leary:  My  dear  Paul,  every  cell  in  your  body  is  acutely  con- 
scious, is  decoding  energy,  has  access  to  wisdom  which  dwarfs 
the  mental,  prefrontal  symbolic  aspect  that  you  consider  normal 
waking  consciousness. 

You  called  me  a  mystic,  and  you  could  call  yourself  a  rational- 
ist, I  agree,  you  are  a  rationalist  because  you  rely  mainly  on 
symbols.  And  you're  a  very  acute  and  beautiful  game  analyst. 
But  I  don't  consider  myself  a  mystic;  I  consider  myself  a  real 
realist  in  that  I'm  accepting  the  empirical  evidence  of  modern 
biochemistry  and  the  intuitive  experiential  evidence  of  what 
I've  learned  by  taking  LSD  300  times. 

The  Paul  Krassner  mind  is  about  thirty  years  old,  but  there 
are  energy  systems,  blueprinting  facilities  and  memory  systems 
within  your  cells  and  your  nervous  system  which  are  hundreds 
of  millions  of  years  old,  which  have  a  language  and  a  politics 
which  are  much  more  complicated  than  English  and  modern 
Democrat-Republican  politics. 

What  we're  doing  for  the  mind  is  what  the  microbiologists 
did  for  the  external  sciences  300  years  ago  when  they  discovered 
the  microscope.  And  they  made  this  incredible  discovery  that 
life,  health,  growth,  every  form  of  organic  life,  is  based  on  the 
cell,  which  is  invisible. 

You've  never  seen  a  cell;  what  do  you  think  of  that?  Yet  it's 
the  key  to  everything  that  happens  to  a  living  creature.  I'm 

A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  [  203 

simply  saying  that  same  thing  from  the  mental,  psychological 
standpoint,  that  there  are  wisdoms,  lawful  units  inside  the 
nervous  system,  invisible  to  the  symbolic  mind,  which  deter- 
mine almost  everything. 

And  I  don't  consider  that  mystical— unless  you'd  call  someone 
who  looks  through  a  microscope  a  mystic,  because  he's  telling 
you  about  something  for  which  you  don't  have  the  symbols.  Or 
the  astronomer  who  detects  a  quasar  and  speculates  about  it. 

Krassner:  All  right,  but  I  don't  consider  it  rationalistic  to  be 
hung  up  on  symbols.  I  think  we  agree  on  the  artificiality  of 

Leary:  Right. 

Krassner:  But  I  would  go  to  the  extent  that  a  man  perhaps 
could  not  be  considered  mentally  healthy,  or  free— or  cellular, 
to  use  your  metaphor— if  he  couldn't  .  .  .  the  most  blatant 
example  would  be,  let's  say,  if  he  couldn't  spit  on  a  crucifix  just 
to  show  that  the  symbol  itself  is  really  an  artifact. 

Leary:  Yes,  but  in  another  sense  I  consider  myself  a  ration- 
alist because  I  believe  that  it  is  man's  challenge  to  develop  new 
symbol  systems  for  these  new  levels  of  internal  consciousness. 
Just  as  we  had  to  develop  a  new  symbol  system  for  the  invisible, 
uncharted  world  which  was  opened  up  with  the  microscope,  the 
task  now  is  to  develop  symbol  systems  for  the  new  invisible 
worlds  which  are  opened  up  by  psychedelic  drugs. 

We're  used  to  having  many  symbol  systems  on  the  macro- 
scopic level.  We  use  one  symbol  system  for  chess,  another  for 
baseball,  another  for  politics.  So  is  it  necessary  to  have  symbol 
systems  for  the  different  levels  of  consciousness. 

Another  fascinating  challenge  is  to  weave  these  multilevel 
symbol  systems  together  into  symphonic  harmonies,  which  the 
psychiatrist  would  call  hallucination  and  which  I  would  call  a 
fulfilled  level  of  symphonic  harmony,  where  you  select  the 
macroscopic  symbol  which  fits  the  sensory  orgasm,  which  har- 
monizes with  the  cellular  dialect  at  the  moment— you  get  them 
all  flowing  together. 

And  just  as  humor  at  the  level  of  normal  symbols  is  the 
juxtaposition  of  two  game  counters  from  difiEerent  games,  and 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  204 

we  laugh,  there's  a  cosmic  humor  in  which  you  bring  together 
inappropriate  symbols  from  different  levels.  So  with  all  the 
games  we  have  going  in  the  social-mental  world,  we  can  ex- 
quisitely complicate  and  multiply  them  in  fascinating  diversity 
as  we  add  these  new  symbol  systems,  of  the  many  senses  and  of 
the  infinite  number  of  cellular  dialects. 

Krassner:  There's  a  slightly  cosmic  irony  in  all  this.  Because 
of  the  cutting  off  of  LSD  from  reliable  sources,  the  black  market 
will  increase,  with  inferior  products  as  a  result,  so  that  some 
people  may  end  up  just  getting  a  sort  of  escalated  high,  maybe 
higher  than  pot,  but  never  experiencing  the  kind  of  profound 
insight  into  levels  of  reality  that  you  talk  about. 

Leary:  I  can't  be  terribly  alarmed  by  that. 

Krassner:  Except  that  they  might  think,  "We  must  be  doing 
something  wrong." 

Leary:  Well,  anyone  who  buys  LSD  on  the  black  market  and 
assumes  that  he's  buying  what  the  seller  tells  him  he's  getting, 
unless  he  knows  that  seller,  is  naive. 

Or  the  person  who  has  an  LSD  session  in  a  surrounding 
which  is  ugly  and  disharmonious,  whether  that  be  a  psychiatric 
clinic  or  a  pad  or  a  penthouse,  is  naive  and  foolish. 

I  can't  take  the  responsibility  for,  or  devote  any  of  my  energy 
to,  lamenting  the  inevitable  torrent  of  millions  of  unprepared, 
foolishly  organized  LSD  sessions.  More  than  anyone  else  in  the 
world,  I've  been  lecturing  to  the  point  of  exhaustion  to  tell 
people  to  know  what  they're  doing. 

Krassner:  On  the  other  hand,  is  there  a  danger  from  an 

Leary:  No.  There's  no  such  thing  as  an  overdose  of  LSD. 
There's  no  known  lethal  quantity.  Obviously,  the  more  you 
take,  the  harder  the  first  hit.  But  another  one  of  the  beautiful 
things  about  LSD,  it  even  up-levels  the  numbers  game  on 
dosage,  once  you  get  beyond  100,  200  gamma.  It's  very  hard  to 
play  games  with  LSD  within  the  quantity  game. 

But  if  someone  buys  a  sugar  cube  and  finds  that  they're  get- 
ting a  pot  high,  they  should  realize  that  they've  just  gotten 
enough,  maybe  25  or  50  gamma,  which  is  going  to  bring  them 

A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  [  205 

to  the  sensory  level,  and  enjoy  it,  and  not  feel  there's  something 
wrong  with  me  that  I  can't  find  God  in  the  pill,  what's  going 
on?  Common  sense  and  careful  preparation  will  guide  you 
through  these  dilemmas. 

In  the  early  days  of  LSD  research,  we  all  had  to  struggle  with 
these  problems.  In  the  early  days  of  any  new  form  of  energy, 
you  run  into  these  problems.  When  you  think  of  the  reckless 
danger  of  unprepared  people  who  went  in  those  canvas  and 
wood  airplanes  that  the  Wright  brothers  turned  up,  that  was 
absolute  madness,  but  they  did  it  and  they  had  a  right  to  do  it, 
knowing  they  were  taking  a  risk. 

In  the  early  days  of  our  research,  I  took  all  sorts  of  strange 
drugs  that  came  from  the  South  Seas  and  from  South  America 
and  from  Morocco  to  find  out  what  they  did  and  about  dosage. 

The  early  people  who  discovered  the  microscopes,  before  they 
really  knew  how  to  grind  lenses,  were  getting  different  amplifi- 
cations and  flaws  in  the  lens.  There's  no  security  and  there's  no 
guarantee  of  complete  safety  in  life— and  the  realistic  attitude, 
the  scientific  attitude,  is  to  check  out,  recognize,  compare,  but 
keep  doing  it,  because  you're  only  going  to  learn  by  trial  and 

Krassner:  Recently  I  spoke  at  Harvard  Law  School,  and 
when  someone  asked  about  the  five-year-old  girl  who  acciden- 
tally ate  an  LSD  sugar  cube  left  in  the  refrigerator  by  her  uncle, 
I  replied  that  she's  back  in  school  now  and  was  assigned  to  write 
a  composition  called  "My  Trip." 

Leary:  Is  that  true? 

Krassner:  No,  I  was  being  facetious,  but  the  significant  thing 
is  that  you  thought  it  might  be  possible. 

Leary:  Well,  first  of  all,  about  that  little  girl,  the  facts  of  the 
matter  are  that  she  is  back  in  school,  she  was  discharged  from 
the  hospital  and  there's  no  evidence  that  she  was  harmed.  The 
scandal  of  that  case  was  not  the  poor  uncle,  who  left  his  cube 
around  and  was  made  to  feel  guilty  and  criminal  about  it;  the 
scandal  of  that  case  were  the  politically  minded  doctors  and 
district  attorneys  who  made  dramatic  announcements  about 
danger  and  "ruined  for  life.'* 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  206 

We  don't  know  what  the  effect  would  be  on  a  little  girl,  and 
from  all  of  the  evidence  so  far,  we  would  be  led  to  believe  that 
her  reaction  to  that  LSD  depends  entirely  upon  the  attitude  of 
the  adults  around  her,  and  if  when  they  discovered  that  she'd 
taken  LSD,  they  treated  it  as  a  rare  opportunity  and  turned  off 
their  fear  and  their  guilt  and  their  selfishness  as  bad  mothers 
and  bad  uncles  and  bad  fathers,  and  spent  the  next  12  hours 
really  being  with  that  kid,  it  would  have  been  a  glorious 

Even  under  the  circumstances  of  ruthlessly  dragging  this  poor 
little  girl  down  to  the  hospital,  pumping  her  stomach— which 
has  no  medical  meaning  because  the  LSD  takes  over  within  a 
few  seconds  and  is  metabolized  very  quickly  (of  course  that's 
just  to  make  the  doctors  feel  better,  pumping  out  the  girl's 
stomach)  —even  in  spite  of  all  that,  there  were  points  where  she 
was  alternately  laughing  and  crying.  Well,  I  could  understand 
that;  I'd  be  doing  the  same. 

But  in  spite  of  all  of  the  brutal  mishandling  and  the  selfish 
copping  out  on  almost  everyone's  part— I  can't  comment  on  the 
uncle  or  the  parents  because  I  don't  know  what  they  did— but 
the  public  health  officials  who  were  protecting  their  interests 
and  using  this  as  part  of  their  campaign,  still  there's  no  reason 
to  believe  that  this  girl  won't  look  back  on  it  in  the  future  as  a 
great  experience  and  that  she  won't  be  more  likely  to  be  a  tuned- 
in,  turned-on  person  in  the  future.  There's  more  chance  of  that 
than  there  is  that  there'll  be  any  damage,  in  spite  of  the  emo- 
tional brutality  to  which  she  was  subjected. 

Krassner:  Do  you  think  that  drugs  will  be  given  to  young 
children  some  day? 

Leary:  In  general,  I  predict  that  psychedelic  drugs  will  be 
used  in  all  schools  in  the  very  near  future  as  educational  devices 
—not  only  drugs  like  marijuana  and  LSD,  to  teach  kids  how  to 
use  their  sense  organs  and  their  cellular  equipment  effectively, 
but  new  and  more  powerful  psychochemicals  like  RNA  and 
other  proteins  which  are  really  going  to  revolutionize  our  con- 
cepts of  ourselves  and  education. 

So  that  the  notion  about  writing  an  essay  in  the  first  grade  on 

A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  [  207 

your  trip  is  not  just  science  fiction,  it's  definitely  going  to 
happen.  People  should  learn  to  use  their  nervous  system  and 
their  cellular  equipment  before  they're  taught  reading  and 
writing  and  symbolic  techniques.  Because  if  you  don't  know 
how  to  handle  your  native  equipment,  you're  going  to  be  ad- 
dicted to,  and  limited  by,  the  artifacts  of  symbols. 

I  intend  to  have  more  children,  and  I'll  tell  you  this,  that  I'm 
not  going  to  push  symbols  on  my  kids— I  won't  keep  anything 
away  from  them,  but  I'm  not  going  to  push  symbols  on  my  kids 
till  they're  ten,  twelve,  maybe  fifteen  years  old. 

I  will  never  encourage  them  to  read  a  book.  I  will  encourage 
them  to  tune  in  on  their  own  internal  vocabularies  and  cellular 
Libraries  of  Congress.  I'll  teach  them  how  to  live  as  an  animal 
and  as  a  creature  of  nature  and  decode  and  communicate  with 
the  many  energies  around  them,  before  I  will  force  artifactual 
symbols— which  are  only  200  or  300  years  old  at  best— on  their  2- 
billion-year-old  cellular  machineries.  And  my  kids  feel  the  same 
way  and  will  probably  be  doing  that  with  their  children. 

Krassner:  Can  you  see  that  being  declared  unconstitutional 
in  a  case  brought  by  a  psychedelic  Madalyn  Murray,  claiming 
that  it's  a  violation  of  separation  of  church  and  state,  and  that 
she  doesn't  mind  if  kids  take  LSD  at  home  but  it  shouldn't  be 
compulsory  in  public  schools? 

Leary:  Well,  it's  conceivable,  and  of  course  Madalyn  Murray 
is  playing  a  fascinating  role  in  society  today  testing  out  game 
situations.  I  don't  intend  to  send  my  future  children  to  schools. 
I'd  rather  have  them  take  heroin  than  go  to  a  first-grade  gram- 
mar school  in  this  country. 

Krassner:  Would  you  set  any  age  limit— working  backward 
chronologically— as  to  a  child  taking  LSD? 

Leary:  I  think  this  has  to  be  tested.  LSD  should  be  used  at 
that  moment  when  the  kid's  symbol  system  freezes,  because 
what  LSD  does  is  allow  you  to  unhook  and  regroup  your  symbol 
system.  I  have  no  evidence  on  this,  but  I  hope  in  the  future  that 
we  will  have. 

Krassner:  [Scene  II:  Millbrook,  a  week  later]  Here's  a 
typical  reporter's  question:  How  do  you  feel  about  your  indict- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  208 

ment  in  Poughkeepsie  this  morning  for  possession  o£  mari- 

Leary:  It  had  almost  no  effect  on  me.  I  would' ve  been  more 
interested  to  learn  that  the  Mets  had  won  their  third  straight 
game,  probably  because  I  know  I'm  probably  never  going  to 
come  to  trial  and  that  I'm  not  terribly  involved  in  the  legal 

Krassner:  Being  back  here  in  Millbrook,  I  was  thinking  about 
your  second  wife.  I  assume  you  took  LSD  together— reimprint- 
ing  on  each  other  every  week— increasing  the  depth  of  your 
relationship.  And  yet  the  marriage  broke  up  on  the  honeymoon 
trip.  .  .  . 

Leary:  As  I  said  when  I  was  on  trial  in  Laredo  and  I  was 
asked  who  gave  me  the  pot,  I'll  be  glad  to  describe  any  of  my 
own  experiences,  but  I  don't  want  to  make  any  comments 
which  involve  other  people.  Any  comments  about  my  marriage 
would  be  involving  someone  who's  very  dear  and  sacred  to  me, 
whose  privacy  should  not  be  violated. 

Krassner:  I  appreciate  that.  The  relevance  I  had  in  mind 
was  the  apparent  failure  of  LSD  imprinting. 

Leary:  I'll  be  glad  to  talk  about  the  effects  of  imprinting  on 
interpersonal  relationships.  I  consider  this  the  most  important 
aspect  of  the  LSD  challenge— the  business  of  imprinting  and 

Every  time  you  take  LSD  you  completely  suspend— you  step 
outside  of— the  symbolic  chessboard  which  you  have  built  up 
over  the  long  years  of  social  conditioning.  And  you  whirl 
though  different  levels  of  neurological  and  cellular  energy, 
continually  flowing  and  changing. 

Your  symbolic  mind  is  flashing  in  and  out.  You  never  lose 
your  mind  during  an  LSD  session.  It's  always  there,  but  it's  one 
of  a  thousand  cameras  that  are  flashing  away.  Of  course,  the 
LSD  freak-out,  or  paranoia,  is  where  the  symbolic  mind  freezes 
any  aspect  of  the  LSD  session  and  defines  a  new  reality,  which 
can  be  positive  or  negative. 

And  toward  the  end  of  an  LSD  session  you  begin  to  re- 
imprint.  This  is  a  very  crucial  time  in  the  LSD  session  because 

A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  [  209 

you  take  a  new  picture  of  yourself,  of  the  world  and  of  the 
people  around  you,  both  real  and  remembered.  It's  particularly 
tricky,  because  what  you're  doing  during  this  imprinting  period 
is  getting  a  new  perspective  of  yourself  and  the  other  people. 
Now  this  is  tricky,  because  you  may  come  out  of  an  LSD  session 
with  a  very  different  picture  of  yourself. 

If  the  LSD  session  has  been  microscopically  revealing  of  your 
own  shortcomings  and  you're  not  experienced  enough  to  be 
able  to  let  this  flow,  too,  and  accept  these  aspects  in  yourself  as  a 
fragmentary  part  of  a  great,  endlessly  changing  design,  then  you 
come  out  depressed.  You've  taken  a  bad  picture  of  yourself. 
This  accounts  for  the  LSD  depression,  which  can  last  for  many 
days  and  for  many  months. 

You  can  also  take  a  negative  picture  of  LSD  itself,  and  you 
come  out  of  the  session  saying,  "Never  again."  So  the  challenge, 
number  one,  is  to  make  a  neurological  contract  with  yourself 
that  you're  not  going  to  take  too  finally  and  dogmatically  any 
picture  that  you  click  or  come  out  with  during  an  LSD  session 
because  you  have  to  dedicate  yourself  to  the  ongoing  yoga  of 
taking  LSD  many  times,  and  not  copping  out  just  because 
you've  taken  one  bad  picture.  If  you  do  that,  you  have  lost  the 
opportunity  to  continue  to  use  your  neurological  camera. 

Now  the  same  thing  is  true  if  you  have  an  LSD  session  with 
somebody  else,  particularly  with  your  wife  or  with  a  person 
with  whom  you  have  an  ongoing  relationship.  It's  perfectly  pos- 
sible after  any  LSD  session  to  come  out  with  a  negative  picture 
of  the  other  person.  You  may  have  had  many  LSD  sessions  with 
someone,  but  that  13th  session  may  close  on  a  note  of  horror. 

A  natural  reaction,  of  course,  after  this  is  to  say,  "Well,  I 
never  want  to  take  LSD  with  that  person  again,"  because  of  that 
last  freaky  session.  That  is,  from  the  standpoint  of  neurological 
ethics,  a  game  violation.  The  neurological  contract  should  have 
provisions  for  continuing  the  sessions  together  until  you  get  to 
that  point  where  you're  both  convinced  that  you've  explored  all 
the  relevant  areas  in  each  other  and  in  the  relationship. 

Krassner:  There's  a  man  who  shall  remain  nameless  who  has 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  210 

taken  LSD  and  continues  his  game  of  professional  war  planning 
for  the  Pentagon.  .  .  . 

Leary:  Why  don't  you  name  him? 

Krassner:  I  don't  want  to  betray  a  confidence. 

Leary:  Can  I  name  him? 

Krassner:  If  you  want  to,  sure. 

Leary:  Herman  Kahn. 

Krassner:  Aren't  you  violating  his  privacy? 

Leary:  That's  no  confidence.  I  didn't  give  him  LSD.  Many 
people  I  know  have  told  me  about  his  taking  LSD. 

Krassner:  Each  one  of  whom  he  told  in  confidence,  probably. 

Leary:  Do  you  think  the  time  has  come  to  share  with  a 
waiting  world  the  names  of  the  prominent  people  whose  lives 
have  been  changed  by  taking  LSD? 

Krassner:  If  you  don't  think  it's  unethical,  I  think  the  time 
has  come. 

Leary:  That's  why  I  admire  Steve  Allen.  Because  he  has  not 
let  his  narrower  secular  games— and  they're  highly  sensitive, 
public  and  even  political  now— interfere  with  his  basic  integ- 
rity. He  has  said  on  television  that  he  has  taken  LSD  and  it  was 
the  most  important  experience  of  his  life.  The  main  question  is 
whether  in  the  Senate  hearings  on  May  25th  [due  to  legal  prob- 
lems Leary  was  unable  to  testify]  I  should  illustrate  the  effec- 
tiveness of  LSD  by  describing  the  positive  effects  on  famous 
people  who  have  used  LSD. 

I  testified  in  Washington  last  week  before  the  Senate  Juvenile 
Delinquency  Committee.  I  brought  down  my  son  and  daughter 
to  sit  next  to  me,  for  many  reasons.  I  wanted  them  to  share 
my— they've  been  in  jail  with  me,  they've  been  deported  from 
several  countries  with  me,  they  were  indicted  with  me— they 
might  as  well  live  through  the  paranoia  of  the  Senate  hearings 
with  me;  but  also  as  a  living  illustration  of  two  famous  juvenile 
delinquents— my  daughter,  eighteen,  who  is  under  a  heavy 
sentence  at  the  present  time,  and  my  son,  sixteen,  who  has  been 
arrested  and  jailed  ten  times. 

During  these  hearings,  a  police  captain  [Alfred  Trembly] 
from  Los  Angeles  went  through  the  same  dreary  dance  of  the 

A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  [  211 

cases  that  his  agents  had  arrested  during  LSD  sessions.  He  was 
reading  from  case  histories— "We  received  a  tip  from  an  in- 
former about  an  LSD  party  on  a  beach  near  Los  Angeles.  Two 
of  my  agents  discovered  two  men  sitting  by  the  ocean  staring 
out  over  the  sea.  As  they  approached  and  the  two  men  saw  them 
coming,  they  fell  upon  their  knees,  and  when  the  agents  walked 
up  to  them,  they  turned  up  and  said,  *We  love  you.'  At  this 
point,  or  shortly  thereafter,  the  two  men  ran  into  the  water,  and 
my  police  officers  had  to  rush  into  the  tide  to  save  their  lives." 

Now  I  was  sitting  next  to  my  two  children  at  these  hearings, 
and  as  each  of  these  so-called  horror  stories  developed,  we 
leaned  back  and  said,  **Why,  of  course,  we  understand  exactly 
how  and  why  such  highly  harmonious  and  natural  develop- 
ments would  occur,  like  falling  on  your  knees  at  the  approach 
of  two  police  officers." 

I  realize  that  Senator  Dodd  and  Senator  Kennedy  were  much 
more  impressed  by  these  stories  of  horror,  so  that  when  I  testi- 
fied about  the  philosophic  and  political  realities  involved,  my 
testimony  seemed  tame  and  professorial,  and  that's  why  I'm 
suggesting  that  perhaps  at  the  next  Senate  hearing,  I  should 
bring  some  case  histories  of  my  own. 

One  would  illustrate  how  Bill  Wilson,  who  founded  Alco- 
holics Anonymous,  has  told  many  of  his  friends  that  LSD  is  a 
natural  and  inevitable  cure  for  alcoholism. 

Or  I  could  tell  the  interesting  case  history  of  Chuck  Dederich, 
who  founded  Synanon— and  this  is  not  a  breach  of  confidence, 
by  the  way.  He's  told  reporters  that  the  insights  which  cured  his 
alcoholism  and  led  to  the  founding  of  the  only  institutional 
cure  for  heroin  addiction  came  from  his  LSD  session. 

Or  I  could  tell  the  story  of  Herman  Kahn,  who  by  the  way  is 
often  misunderstood,  but  Herman  is  not  a  war  planner,  he's  a 
civil  defense  planner.  Herman's  claim  is  that  he  is  one  of  the 
few  highly  placed  Americans  who's  willing  to  gaze  with  naked 
eyes  upon  the  possibilities  of  atomic  warfare  and  come  up  with 
solutions  to  this  horrible  possibility.  Perhaps  his  LSD  sessions 
have  given  him  this  revelation  and  courage.  And  even  his 
phrase  "spasm  war,"  which  to  the  intellectual  liberal  sounds 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  212 

gruesome,  is  a  powerful,  cellular  metaphor  describing  an  event 
which  the  very  phrase  itself,  "spasm  war,"  might  prevent. 

Or  I  could  remind  the  Senate  and  the  American  public  of 
Gary  Grant,  whose  first  child  was  born  in  his  sixties  after  re- 
newal and  revigorations  which  he  attributes  to  LSD. 

Or  I  could  mention  Henry  Luce  and  Clare  Boothe  Luce,  two 
Americans  whose  power  and  game-playing  skill  can  hardly  be 
discounted  and  who  have  always  been  obsessed  with  a  religious 
quest,  both  of  whom  have  taken  LSD  many  times. 

Krassner:  Which  may  well  be  why  Life  magazine  had  a  let's- 
not-be-too-hasty  editorial.  But  you  can't  really  generalize  about 
this  wound  between  the  generations,  then. 

Leary:  I  testified  in  Washington  last  week  before  the  Senate 
Juvenile  Delinquency  Gommittee.  I  was  welcomed  by  Senator 
Dodd  with  affectionate  and  respectful  comments,  and  then  I 
began  my  short  statement,  which  had  to  do  with  the  breakdown 
of  communication  between  the  generations,  the  middle-aged 
and  the  young.  And  just  as  I  was  toward  the  end  of  this,  Teddy 
Kennedy— who  had  rushed  back  into  town  unexpectedly  to 
appear  at  these  televised  hearings— interrupted  me  by  saying, 
"Mr.  Leary,  I  don't  understand  what  you're  talking  about." 

Krassner:  That's  because  he  doesn't  know  which  generation 
to  identify  with. 

Leary:  That's  the  particular  problem  I  was  talking  about, 
the  breakdown  of  communication.  But  I  was  disturbed  by  the 
obvious  hostility  on  the  part  of  Edward  Kennedy.  He  didn't 
know  what  he  was  talking  about.  He  hadn't  researched  the 
subject  because  I  can  be  challenged  on  many  levels  on  many 
issues.  This  seemed  to  be  an  unprepared  and  instinctive  attack 
on  Teddy  Kennedy's  part,  upon  what  he  obviously  felt  was  an 
unpopular  and  non-vote-getting  position. 

I  was  disturbed  by  this  because  I've  been  saying  over  and  over 
again  that  the  position  that  one  takes  on  the  LSD  controversy 
and  the  sexual  freedom  issue  is  the  most  perfectly  predicted  by 
the  person's  age.  A  Supreme  Gourt  of  seventeen-year-olds  would 
never  have  convicted  Ralph  Ginzburg. 

A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  [  213 

Krassner:  I  think  you're  wrong.  It  depends  on  which  seven- 
teen-year-olds. The  ones  you  and  I  know  wouldn't  have,  but  I 
don't  think  you  can  be  that  rigid.  .  .  . 

Leary:  I'm  obviously  wrong,  because  Teddy  Kennedy  is 
one  of  the  youngest  members  of  the  Senate,  whom  I  would 
hopefully  expect  to  be  most  alert  to  the  needs  and  impulses  of 
the  younger  generation.  He  proved  to  be  hostile,  whereas  Sena- 
tor Dodd,  much  his  senior,  was  courteous,  although  bewildered. 

Krassner:  Dr.  Nathan  Kline  was  quoted  in  Newsweek: 
**Under  drugs  like  pot  you  tend  to  feel  that  you  love  everyone 
and  the  world  is  a  great  place.  And  if  anyone  wants  to  go  to  bed 
with  you,  it's  just  one  more  great  experience  to  share.  Preg- 
nancy becomes  the  most  frequent  side  effect  of  pot."  Now, 
you've  said  that  the  closer  one  communicates  with  his  cells— 
with  or  without  consciousness-expanding  drugs— one  knows 
when  one  is  making  a  baby.  How  would  you  reconcile— 

Leary:  Well,  pot  does  not  turn  you  on  to  your  cells;  pot 
turns  you  on  to  your  senses.  It's  true  that  marijuana  is  a  fan- 
tastically effective  aphrodisiac,  and  the  person  who  understands 
pot  can  weave  together  a  symphony  of  visual,  auditory,  olfac- 
tory, gustatory,  tactual  sensitivity  to  make  lovemaking  an  ad- 
venture which  dwarfs  the  imagination  of  the  pornographers. 

This  has  nothing  to  do  with  pregnancy. 

I  would  suggest  that  before  believing  what  Dr.  Kline  says 
about  marijuana,  we  ask  him,  has  he  ever  smoked  it,  and  has  he 
done  a  serious  study  of  the  effects  of  this  fascinating  and  holy 
drug?  The  answer,  of  course,  would  be  no. 

I  would  say  that  the  drug  that  gets  you  knocked  up,  blindly 
and  unconsciously,  is  alcohol.  Alcohol  does  reduce  inhibitions- 
people  become  aggressive,  indiscriminately  loving  or  hostile, 
weeply  self-pitying  or  self-expansive.  Alcohol  stimulates  the 
social  emotions,  and  it's  well-known  that  alcohol  is  a  seductive 
instrument  which  will  produce  round  heels  in  any  woman. 

This  has  nothing  to  do  with  sensual  enhancement,  which 
marijuana  produces.  Alcohol  dulls  the  senses,  reduces  every- 
thing to  a  crude  wrestling  match.  I  would  say  that  alcohol  has 
produced  more  unplanned  pregnancies  than  any  drug  around. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  214 

Under  marijuana,  with  your  senses  heightened,  you're  not 
about  to  go  to  bed  with  a  crude  seducer. 

Krassner:  And  yet,  for  some,  pot  has  taken  the  place  of 
alcohol  as  part  of  the  seduction  process. 

Leary:  Yes,  but  it's  a  much  higher-level  form  of  seduction. 
It's  not  seduction  at  all,  it's  a  highly  intricate,  delicate,  exquisite 
enhancer  of  communication.  If  you  have  an  alcoholic  man 
coming  on  to  a  girl  who  is  smoking  marijuana,  nothing's  going 
to  happen  except  the  horrified  shrinking  back  on  the  part  of  the 
marijuana  smoker. 

Krassner:  According  to  the  Wall  Street  Journal,  "Hallucina- 
tory drugs,  including  LSD,  have  joined  nerve  gases  and  a  multi- 
tude of  disabling  germs  in  the  nation's  arsenal  of  chemical  and 
biological  weapons.  .  .  ." 

Leary:  The  fascinating  thing  about  LSD  is  that  everyone 
wants  to  control  it. 

The  person  who  doesn't  want  to  use  it  wants  to  control  it  so 
nobody  else  can  use  it.  The  cops  want  to  take  it  away  from 
youngsters  and  put  them  in  jail  for  controlling  it  and  keep  it 
themselves.  The  researchers  want  it  to  do  research;  the  psychia- 
trists want  it  as  an  adjunct  to  psychotherapy.  I've  had  dozens  of 
ministers  tell  me,  "This  is  an  authentic  religious  experience, 
but  its  use  in  any  other  context  except  the  spiritual  is  a  sacri- 
lege." The  artist  wants  to  control  it  to  win  the  Nobel  Prize. 

No  matter  why  they  want  to  use  it,  what  gain  they  have  that's 
going  to  be  facilitated  by  it,  they  all  want  to  have  it  in  their 
hands.  And  I,  for  one,  think  they're  all  right,  that  everyone 
should  have  it  in  their  little  hot  hands,  for  whatever  use  they 

And  another  statement  about  LSD  came  in  the  Senate  com- 
mittee hearing  when  Senator  Dodd  said,  "Well,  this  material 
has  to  be  controlled  because  I  understand  it's  odorless,  colorless, 
and  .  .  ."  He  started  fumbling,  and  I  said,  "Tasteless,  Senator 
Dodd."  He  said,  "Oh,  yes,  tasteless." 

I  said,  "Senator  Dodd,  in  addition  to  that,  it's  free.  You  can 
make  20,000  doses  of  LSD  for  about  a  hundred  dollars,  which 
means  that  LSD  is  less  expensive  than  pure  water  itself"— and  at 

A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  [  215 

this  point  I  held  up  a  glass  of  water.  He  said,  "All  the  more 
reason  to  control  it."  I  said,  "Yes,  Senator,  and  all  the  clearer 
that  you  can't  possibly  control  it." 

Krassner:  Every  time  I  laugh  I  get  high. 

Leary:  Laughing  is  definitely  antiadministration. 

Krassner:  A  couple  of  years  ago  you  told  me  that  the  free- 
speech  movement  in  Berkeley  was  playing  right  onto  the  game 
boards  of  the  administration  and  the  police,  and  that  the 
students  could  shake  up  the  establishment  much  more  by  just 
staying  in  their  rooms  and  changing  their  nervous  systems.  But 
now  that  you're  involved  in  the  fighting-the-law  game,  do  you 
still  feel  that  way? 

Leary:  Yes.  Any  external  or  social  action,  unless  it's  based  on 
expanded  consciousness,  is  a  robot  behavior— including  political 
action  in  favor  of  LSD  and  marijuana. 

And  you  will  notice  that  I  have  not  suggested  traditional 
political  action  in  defense  of  marijuana  and  LSD.  I'm  involved 
in  legal  action  to  protect  myself  and  other  people  from  going  to 
jail.  But  my  attitude  toward  this  legal  skirmishing  is  extremely 

My  advice  to  myself  and  to  everyone  else,  particularly  young 
people,  is  to  turn  on,  tune  in  and  drop  out.  By  drop  out,  I  mean 
to  detach  yourself  from  involvement  in  secular,  external  social 
games.  But  the  dropping  out  has  to  occur  internally  before  it 
occurs  externally.  I'm  not  telling  kids  just  to  quit  school;  I'm 
not  telling  people  just  to  quit  their  jobs.  That  is  an  inevitable 
development  in  the  process  of  turning  on  and  tuning  in. 

Mostly  all  social  decisions  are  made  on  the  basis  of  symbolic 
pressure— symbolic  reactions.  Most  men  and  women  who  drop 
out  of  the  secular  game  to  become  monks  and  nuns  are  doing  it 
under  the  pressure  of  freaky  sexual  or  social  game  harassments. 
Such  decisions  are  blind  and  unconscious. 

American  society's  an  insane  and  destructive  enterprise.  But 
before  you  can  take  any  posture  in  relationship  to  this  society, 
you  have  to  sanitize  yourself  internally.  Then  you  drop  out,  not 
in  rebellion  but  as  an  act  of  harmony. 

My  comments  about  the  student  rebellion,  and  even  the  civil 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [216 

rights  movement,  stem  from  these  convictions.  I  have  no  inter- 
est in  students  rebelling  against  university  authorities  to  make  a 
better  university,  because  they  can't.  I  have  no  sympathy  with  a 
civil  rights  movement  which  attempts  to  "raise"  the  Negro  to 
the  level  of  the  middle-class  white  American. 

The  university  is  an  institution  for  consciousness  contraction, 
and  any  attempt  to  give  students  more  power  and  responsibility 
in  running  universities  is  a  growth  of  collective  insanity.  The 
most  hopeful  development  in  the  last  10  years  has  been  the  drop- 
out phenomenon.  This  is  unique  in  human  history. 

For  thousands  of  years  the  goal  of  children  of  poor  people,  of 
politically  impoverished  people,  has  been  to  get  more  educa- 
tion, because  education  means  power,  wealth,  control.  Now  for 
the  first  time  we  have  a  generation  which  is  dropping  out— a 
tremendously  exciting,  revolutionary  symptom. 

It  means  to  me  that  many  of  the  young  people  are  dealing 
themselves  out  of  the  power  game  and  the  control  game. 

Instead  of  picketing  university  administration  buildings,  I 
think  young  people  should  first  turn  on,  then  tune  in,  and  then 
walk  off  the  campus.  While  I  have  great  sympathy  for  the  draft- 
card  burners,  I  would  still  prefer  them  to  sit  in  front  of  a 
psychedelic  shrine  in  their  own  home  and  burn  a  dollar  bill. 
Or,  as  the  ironic  John  Bircher  has  suggested,  burn  their  Social 
Security  cards. 

Krassner:  I  want  to  relate  "The  Spring  Grove  Experiment" 
which  we  watched  on  TV  to  your  comments  about  turning  on 
and  dropping  out.  Now  one  of  the  patients,  an  alcoholic,  was 
given  LSD  in  a  psychotherapeutic  context,  and  his  cure— as  far 
as  the  program  was  concerned— was  dropping  in. 

Leaky:  Right.  He  was  going  to  night  school,  learning— of  all 
things— accounting,  and  he  was  going  to  get  a  better  job.  [Leary 
makes  a  strange  sound.] 

Krassner:  I  won't  know  how  to  spell  that. 

Leary:  B-r-e-u-o-o-o-g-h!  That's  what  I  just  said,  which  is 
Vishnu's  laugh  of  cosmic  horror. 

Sanford  linger  [the  psychiatrist  on  the  CBS-TV  show]  took 
LSD  the  first  time  in  my  house  at  Newton  five  years  ago.  Half- 

A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  [  217 

way  through  the  session,  he  sat  up  in  the  room,  and  he  said  to 
me  something  to  this  effect:  "Whooooo-oshl  What  do  we  do 
now?  Where  do  we  go  with  this?  How  do  we  get  it  across  to 

Now  there  are  several  ways  in  which  you  can  diagnose  one  of 
our  graduates  in  the  LSD  profession.  If  they  sit  on  the  floor  with 
a  patient,  they're  one  of  our  graduates.  If  they  hold  hands  with 
or  touch  the  patient  physically  during  the  session,  they're  one  of 
our  graduates.  If  they  use  religious  and  philosophic  metaphors, 
they're  one  of  our  graduates,  and  you  will  note  all  of  these 
themes  running  through  the  television  program  tonight.  The 
psychiatric  approach  to  the  selling  of  the  psychedelic  experience 
is  like  selling  Christ  because  He  makes  you  happier,  gets  you  a 
better  job,  makes  you  more  money.  Everyone  receives  the 
message  of  LSD  at  the  level  to  which  their  receptive  apparatus  is 
tuned,  and  I've  no  objection  to  and  considerable  admiration  for 
the  mental  health  approach.  Although  it's  shortsighted,  narrow, 
it  obviously  gets  to  more  people  in  the  middle-aged  bracket 
than  /  get  to;  I  horrify  and  terrorize  middle-aged  people. 

And  you'll  notice  that  the  theme  of  that  TV  show  was 
pitched  directly  to  the  heart  of  the  middle-aged  neurosis— the 
meaninglessness  of  life,  the  breakdown  of  communication  with 
the  husband,  the  feeling  of  emptiness  and  being  a  fake,  the 
feeling  of  having  consistently  failed,  the  notion  of  "Can  I  die 
and  be  reborn  again?"  These  are  the  spiritual  and  psychological 
terrors  of  the  middle-aged,  and  Dr.  Sanford  Unger  and  his  tele- 
vision collaborators  accurately  sensed  and  effectively  talked  to 
these  anguishing  dilemmas. 

Krassner:  What  did  you  learn  from  your  spiritual  quest  in 

Leary:  I  spent  four  months  on  my  honeymoon  in  a  little 
cottage  on  a  ridge  which  looked  out  at  the  Himalayas.  This 
cottage  had  no  electricity,  gas  or  water,  and  was  rented  from  the 
Methodist  Church,  which  also  supplied  a  Moslem  cook,  who 
also  supplied  me  once  a  week,  after  his  shopping  trip  to  the 
village,  with  a  finger-size  stick  of  attar  or  hashish. 

This  was  one  of  the  most  serene  and  productive  periods  of  my 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  218 

life.  I  spent  at  least  two  hours  a  day  in  meditation,  an  hour  of 
which  was  facilitated  by  the  use  of  this  excellent  village-grown 
and  hand-rolled  hashish.  And  I  spent  1  day  a  week,  as  I  have  for 
the  last  6  years,  in  an  LSD  session.  I  spent  about  2  hours  a  day 
listening  to  Lama  Anargarika  Govinda  talk  about  the  /  Ching 
and  Tibetan  yoga.  And  I  spent  several  hours  a  day  thinking 
about  how  man  can  get  back  into  harmonious  interaction  with 

During  this  period  I  worked  out  very  detailed  notes  and 
blueprints  for  the  next  500  years.  It's  an  interesting  thing  about 
man  and  man's  mind  and  man's  intellectual  productions. 
Rarely  if  ever  have  men  produced  a  blueprint  for  the  future 
which  goes  beyond  their  own  life. 

We  are  encouraged  at  the  present  time  in  America  to  revere 
and  admire  such  far-seeing  organizations  as  Rand  Corporation, 
which  is  planning  our  military  defense  as  far  as  10  years  ahead. 
Occasionally,  in  the  last  hundred  years,  men  called  conserva- 
tionists have  pleaded  with  legislators  to  pay  some  attention  to 
our  rape  of  the  rivers,  forests,  prairies,  and  skies.  Until  very 
recently,  such  men  were  considered  kooks  and  far-out  do-gooders. 

Before  I  went  to  India,  I  talked  to  many  men  who  are  in 
strategic  planning  positions  in  our  intellectual  establishment— 
the  top  officials  of  Xerox  and  IBM,  for  example— and  I  asked 
them,  who's  planning  for  the  future?  Are  the  Chinese  Com- 
munists? Are  the  Russians?  Are  we?  Now  it's  possible,  and  I 
hope  it's  probable,  that  there  are  secret  agencies  in  our  govern- 
ment, and  the  Chinese  government,  planning  for  the  future, 
but  I  doubt  it.  And  furthermore,  I  suspect  that  whatever 
planning  is  done  is  at  the  lowest  level  of  imperialistic  politics. 

It's  my  ambition  to  be  the  holiest,  wisest,  most  beneficial  man 
alive  today.  Now  this  may  sound  megalomaniac,  but  I  don't  see 
why.  I  don't  see  why  every  one  of  your  readers,  every  person 
who  lives  in  the  world,  shouldn't  have  that  ambition.  What  else 
should  you  try  to  be?  The  president  of  the  board,  or  the 
chairman  of  the  department,  or  the  owner  of  this  and  that? 

Krassner:  But  why  not  drop  out  of  even  that? 

Leaky:  I'm  ready.  And  do  what?  You've  got  to  name  me  a 

A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  [  219 

better  game.  And  this  has  been  my  challenge  for  the  last  six 
years.  I'm  ready  to  give  up  LSD  at  a  moment's  notice  if  someone 
will  suggest  to  me  a  game  which  is  more  exciting,  more  promis- 
ing, more  expansive,  more  ecstatic.  Tell  me,  Paul.  I'll  take  off 
my  shoes  and  follow  you. 

Krassner:  Suppose  I  suggest  the  possibility  of  a  better  game— 
which  I  might  not  have  been  qualified  to  do  a  year  ago,  because 
I  hadn't  taken  LSD  yet,  but  I've  had  it  three  times  now,  which 
gives  me  the  arrogance  to  ask— wouldn't  a  better  game,  ideally, 
be  to  do  it  without  LSD? 

Leary:  Yes,  that's  part  of  my  plan.  LSD  .  .  .  what  is  LSD? 
LSD  is  not  a  thing,  a  drug.  LSD  is  simply  a  key  to  opening  up 
sensory,  cellular  and  precellular  consciousness  so  that  you  flow 
and  harmonize  with  these  different  levels. 

Now  if  we  understood  how  to  raise  children  so  that  they 
wouldn't  be  addicted  to  symbols  and  they  wouldn't  be  addicted 
to  stupefacient  drugs  such  as  television,  alcohol,  then  we 
wouldn't  need  LSD.  Nature  always  produces  the  cure  for  the 
particular  disease  which  has  evolved. 

The  disease  that  is  crushing  and  oppressing  this  planet  today 
is  man's  possessive  and  manipulatory  symbolic  mind  and  the 
cure  for  the  disease  has  been  provided.  I  have  no  illusions.  I've 
never  made  any  great  claims  for  LSD.  It's  simply  a  particular 
evolutionary  molecule  at  exactly  that  moment  when  it's  needed. 

The  young  generation  needs  LSD  to  cure  the  symbolic 
plague.  Their  children  won't  need  LSD  except  for  the  mentally 
ill.  The  mentally  ill  in  the  second  generation  to  come  will  be 
those  who  get  addicted  to  symbols,  power. 

Some  of  my  visionary  colleagues  think  that  we're  going  to 
have  to  kill  the  members  of  our  species  who  get  addicted  to 
control  and  power  in  the  future.  I  don't.  I  think  that  LSD 
treatment  will  bring  them  back  in  harmony. 

But  the  third  generation  from  now  will  not  need  LSD.  The 
fourth  generation  from  now  will  be  in  such  perfect  harmony 
with  every  form  of  molecular,  cellular,  seed  and  sensory  energy 
that  LSD  will  be  unnecessary. 

Krassner:  Aren't  you  ignoring  human  nature? 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [220 

Leary:  What  do  you  mean  by  human  nature? 

Krassner:  I  mean— in  addition  to  all  the  cooperative  and 
compassionate  qualities— the  orneriness,  the  power  drives,  the 
aggressiveness,  the  hostility  that  realistically  .  .  . 

Leary:  Who  are  you  to  say  what's  real? 

Krassner:  I'm  describing  what  exists  by  my  perception. 

Leary:  It  is  an  unfortunate  aspect  of  recent  human  history 
that  those  human  beings  who  are  addicted  or  driven  to  power, 
control  and  murder  have  tried  to  kill  off  the  gentle,  harmoni- 
ous, open  people.  But  they  haven't;  they've  just  pushed  them 
underground.  The  present  spasm  of  control,  power  and  murder 
is  not  human  nature. 

It  is  true  that  as  animals,  and  as  carnivorous  animals,  we  have 
had  to  kill  to  live.  And  it's  true  at  every  level  of  life  that  species 
have  to  eat  each  other,  species  have  to  combat  each  other  to  find 
their  place  in  the  overall  scheme.  But  this  is  a  harmonious  and 
fully  conscious  procedure. 

Now  you  called  me  on  my  eating  steak  in  New  York  the  other 
night.  I  feel  that  part  of  me  is  mammalian  and  does  demand 
and  need  animal  fiber.  In  my  plan  for  the  future,  there  will  be 
some  carnivorous  activity.  We  will  be  food-conscious,  and  we'll 
pay  respect  to  the  rights  of  the  other  species. 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  starting  next  week,  we're  going  to  have 
animals  on  this  property  here  in  Millbrook.  Some  of  these 
animals  we  will  raise  to  slaughter,  but  we  will  not  kill  these 
animals  until  we  know  them  well  and  have  had  LSD  sessions 
with  them,  until  we  have  seen  that  they  have  produced  off- 
spring. We  will  then  preserve  their  offspring. 

We  will  keep  the  sacred  soul  of  the  animal  alive,  because  the 
soul  of  the  living  organism  is  its  genetic  code,  and  it's  perfectly 
natural  and  right  that  one  species  eat  another  species  as  long  as 
they  don't  wipe  the  species  out. 

Now  man's  use  of  animals,  when  you  raise  them  just  for 
slaughter— anonymously,  impersonally  and  in  robot  fashion- 
produces  a  robot  species,  which  is  modern  civilized  man.  In  a 
fully  conscious  society,  we're  aware  of  the  fact  that  we're  going 
to  have  to  eat  each  other. 

A  Trip  with  Paul  Krassner  [  221 

My  plan  for  Millbrook  and  my  blueprint  for  the  world  is  that 
we  will  exist  in  harmonious,  interspecies  interactions.  I  plan  to 
have  in  Millbrook  this  spring  members  of  7  species,  who'll  all 
be  feeding  off  each  other  and  supporting  each  other.  We'll  have 
fungi,  plants,  insects,  amphibia,  reptiles,  fish,  mammals. 

We'll  feed  each  other,  we'll  protect  each  other,  we'll  protect 
each  other's  offspring  and  we'll  build  up  a  cycle  of  interspecies 
harmony  and  mutual  collaboration.  And  we'll  pay  respect  to 
the  facts  that  the  symbolic  human  mind  can't  face— one,  that  we 
all  die;  two,  that  we  all  eat  each  other;  three,  we  must  all 
provide  for  each  other's  genetic  or  soul  growth. 

So  I  see  no  ambiguities  or  conflicts  in  the  plan  which  I  sug- 
gest and  what  you  say  is  human  nature  I  see  as  a  freaky,  recently 
faddist  and,  in  the  long  run,  irrelevant  tendency  to  blindly, 
ruthlessly  destroy  other  forms  of  human  life  and  other  forms  of 
species  life  on  this  planet,  which  in  the  long  run  is  obviously 

Human  nature  is  like  every  other  nature  of  living  creature  on 
this  planet,  basically  alert,  open,  conscious,  collaborative. 

Krassner:  And  competitive. 

Leary:  And  competitive,  right.  But  there's  a  difference  be- 
tween competition  and  murder.  The  New  York  Yankees  com- 
pete with  the  Washington  Senators  and  they  don't  want  to  kill 
them  with  baseball  bats,  because  they  realize  that  if  the  Yankees 
were  to  beanball  and  baseball-bat  out  of  existence  the  Senators, 
there'd  be  no  more  game  of  baseball. 

And  that,  dear  Paul,  is  the  lesson  of  evolution  which  my  cells 
have  taught  me.  Balance:  competition,  mutual  cannibalism 
and,  above  all,  protection  of  the  young  of  all  species. 


Start  Your  Own  Religion 

The  Purpose  of  Life  Is  Religious  Discovery 

That  intermediate  manifestation  of  the  divine  process  which  we 
call  the  DNA  code  has  spent  the  last  2  billion  years  making  this 
planet  a  Garden  of  Eden.  An  intricate  web  has  been  woven,  a 
delicate  fabric  of  chemical-electrical-seed-tissue-organism- 
species.  A  dancing,  joyous  harmony  of  energy  transactions  is 
rooted  in  the  12  inches  of  topsoil  which  covers  the  rock 

core  of  this  planet. 

Into  this  Garden  of  Eden  each  human  being  is  born  perfect. 
We  were  all  bom  divine  mutants,  the  DNA  code's  best  answer 
to  joyful  survival  on  this  planet.  An  exquisite  package  for 
adaptation  based  on  2  billion  years  of  consumer  research 
(RNA)  and  product  design  (DNA) . 

But  each  baby,  although  born  perfect,  immediately  finds 
himself  in  an  imperfect,  artificial,  disharmonious  social  system 
which  systematically  robs  him  of  his  divinity. 

And  the  social  systems— where  did  they  come  from? 

Individual  societies  begin  in  harmonious  adaptation  to  the 
environment  and,  like  individuals,  quickly  get  trapped  into 
nonadaptive,  artificial,  repetitive  sequences. 

When  the  individual's  behavior  and  consciousness  get  hooked 
to  a  routine  sequence  of  external  actions,  he  is  a  dead  robot, 


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start  Your  Own  Religion  [  225 

When  the  individual's  behavior  and  consciousness  get  hooked 
to  a  routine  sequence  of  external  actions,  he  is  a  dead  robot, 

When  the  individual's  behavior  and  consciousness  get  hooked 
to  a  routine  sequence  of  external  actions,  he  is  a  dead  robot,  and 
it  is  time  for  him  to  die  and  be  reborn.  Time  to  "drop  out," 
"turn  on,"  and  "tune  in."  This  period  of  robotization  is  called 
the  Kali  Yuga,  the  Age  of  Strife  and  Empire,  the  peak  of  so- 
called  civilization,  the  Johnson  Administration,  etc.  This  re- 
lentless law  of  death,  life,  change  is  the  rhythm  of  the  galaxies 
and  the  seasons,  the  rhythm  of  the  seed.  It  never  stops. 

Drop  Out.  Turn  On.  Tune  In 

Drop  Out— detach  yourself  from  the  external  social  drama 
which  is  as  dehydrated  and  ersatz  as  TV. 

Turn  On— find  a  sacrament  which  returns  you  to  the  temple 
of  God,  your  own  body.  Go  out  of  your  mind.  Get  high. 

Tune  In— be  reborn.  Drop  back  in  to  express  it.  Start  a 
new  sequence  of  behavior  that  reflects  your  vision. 

But  the  sequence  must  continue.  You  cannot  stand  still. 

Death.  Life.  Structure. 

D.  L.  S. 

D.  L.  S.  D.  L.     S.     D. 

L.  S.  D.  L.  S.     D.     L. 

S.  D.  L.  S.  D 

Any  action  that  is  not  a  conscious  expression  of  the  drop-out- 
turn-on-tune-in-dropout  rhythm  is  the  dead  posturing  of  robot 
actors  on  the  fake-prop  TV  studio  stage  set  that  is  called  Ameri- 
can reality. 

Actions  which  are  conscious  expressions  of  the  turn-on,  tune- 
in,  drop-out  rhythm  are  religious. 

The  wise  person  devotes  his  life  exclusively  to  the  religious 
search— for  therein  is  found  the  only  ecstasy,  the  only  meaning. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  224 

Anything  else  is  a  competitive  quarrel  over  (or  Hollywood- 
love  sharing  of)  television  studio  props. 

How  to  Turn  On 

To  turn  on  is  to  detach  from  the  rigid  addictive  focus  on  the 
fake-prop  TV  studio  set  and  to  refocus  on  the  natural  energies 
within  the  body. 

To  turn  on,  you  go  out  of  your  mind  and: 

1 .  Come  to  your  senses— focus  on  sensory  energies. 

2.  Resurrect  your  body— focus  on  somatic  energies. 

3.  Drift  down  cellular  memory  tracks  beyond  the  body's 
space-time— focus  on  cellular  energies. 

4.  Decode  the  genetic  code. 

Note  well:  at  each  of  these  levels  (sensory,  somatic,  cellular, 
molecular) ,  attention  can  be  directed  at  energy  changes  within 
or  without  the  body.  If  attention  is  directed  externally  during 
the  session,  the  outside  world  is  experienced  in  terms  of  a  non- 
symbolic  energy— language  focus.  Be  careful.  This  can  be  shock- 
ing. The  props  of  the  TV  studio  stage  set  are  suddenly  ex- 

1.  As  sensory  (e.g.,  the  room  is  alive,  out  of  control,  explod- 
ing with  light  and  sound) 

2.  As  somatic  (e.g.,  the  room  is  alive,  undulating  with  diges- 
tive rhythm) 

3.  As  cellular  (e.g.,  all  props  and  actors  take  on  a  stylized, 
mythic,  reincarnate  hue) 

4.  As  molecular  (e.g.,  all  props  and  actors  shimmer  imper- 
sonally as  vibratory  mosaics) 

Recognition  eliminates  fear  and  confusion.  To  turn  on,  you 
need  maps  and  manuals. 

To  turn  on,  you  must  learn  how  to  pray.  Prayer  is  the 
compass,  the  gyroscope  for  centering  and  stillness. 

Turning  on  is  a  complex,  demanding,  frightening,  confusing 
process.  It  requires  diligent  yoga. 

Turning  on  requires  a  guide  who  can  center  you  at  the  TV- 

start  Your  Own  Religion  [  225 

stage-prop  level  and  at  the  sensory,  somatic,  cellular,  and  molec- 
ular levels. 

When  you  turn  on,  remember:  you  are  not  a  naughty  boy 
getting  high  for  kicks. 

You  are  a  spiritual  voyager  furthering  the  most  ancient, 
noble  quest  of  man.  When  you  turn  on,  you  shed  the  fake-prop 
TV  studio  and  costume  and  join  the  holy  dance  of  the  vision- 
aries. You  leave  LB  J  and  Bob  Hope;  you  join  Lao-tse,  Christ, 
Blake.  Never  underestimate  the  sacred  meaning  of  the  turn-on. 

To  turn  on,  you  need  a  sacrament.  A  sacrament  is  a  visible 
external  thing  which  turns  the  key  to  the  inner  doors.  A 
sacrament  must  bring  about  bodily  changes.  A  sacrament  flips 
you  out  of  the  TV-studio  game  and  harnesses  you  to  the  2- 
billion-year-old  flow  inside. 

A  sacrament  which  works  is  dangerous  to  the  establishment 
which  runs  the  fake-prop  TV  studio— and  to  that  part  of  your 
mind  which  is  hooked  to  the  studio  game. 

Each  TV-prop  society  produces  exactly  that  body-changing 
sacrament  which  will  flip  out  the  mind  of  the  society. 

Today  the  sacrament  is  LSD.  New  sacraments  are  coming 

Sacraments  wear  out.  They  become  part  of  the  social  TV- 
studio  game.  Treasure  LSD  while  it  still  works.  In  fifteen  years 
it  will  be  tame,  socialized,  and  routine. 

How  to  Tune  In 

You  cannot  stay  turned  on  all  the  time.  You  cannot  stay  any- 
place all  the  time.  That's  a  law  of  evolution.  After  the  revela- 
tion it  is  necessary  to  drop  back  in,  return  to  the  fake-prop  TV 
studio  and  initiate  small  changes  which  reflect  the  glory  and  the 
meaning  of  the  turn-on.  You  change  the  way  you  move,  the  way 
you  dress,  and  you  change  your  corner  of  the  TV-studio  society. 
You  begin  to  look  like  a  happy  saint.  Your  home  slowly  be- 
comes a  shrine.  Slowly,  gently,  you  start  seed  transformations 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  226 

around   you.    Psychedelic   art.    Psychedelic   style.    Psychedelic 
music.  Psychedelic  dance. 

Suddenly  you  discover  you  have  dropped  out. 

How  to  Drop  Out 

Drop  out  means  exactly  that:  drop  out. 

Most  of  the  activity  of  most  Americans  goes  into  robot  per- 
formances on  the  TV-studio  stage.  Fake.  Unnatural.  Automatic. 

Drop  out  means  detach  yourself  from  every  TV  drama  which 
is  not  in  the  rhythm  of  the  turn-on,  tune-in,  drop-out  cycle. 

Quit  school.  Quit  your  job.  Don't  vote.  Avoid  all  politics.  Do 
not  waste  conscious  thinking  on  TV-studio  games.  Political 
choices  are  meaningless. 

To  postpone  the  dropout  is  to  cop  out. 

Dismiss  your  fantasies  of  infiltrating  the  social  stage-set  game. 
Any  control  you  have  over  television  props  is  their  control  over 

Dismiss  the  Judaic-Christian-Marxist-puritan-literary-existen- 
tialist suggestion  that  the  drop-out  is  escape  and  that  the  con- 
formist cop-out  is  reality.  Dropping  out  is  the  hardest  yoga  of 

Make  your  dropout  invisible.  No  rebellion— please! 

To  Drop  Out,  You  Must  Form  Your  Own  Religion 

The  drop-out,  turn-on,  tune-in  rhythm  is  most  naturally  done 
in  small  groups  of  family  members,  lovers,  and  seed  friends. 

For  both  psychedelic  and  legal  reasons,  you  must  form  your 
own  cult. 

The  directors  of  the  TV  studio  do  not  want  you  to  live  a 
religious  life.  They  will  apply  every  pressure  (including 
prison)  to  keep  you  in  their  game. 

Your  own  mind,  which  has  been  corrupted  and  neurologi- 
cally  damaged  by  years  of  education  in  fake-prop  TV-studio 
games,  will  also  keep  you  trapped  in  the  game. 

start  Your  Own  Religion  [  227 

A  group  liberation  cult  is  required. 

You  must  form  that  most  ancient  and  sacred  of  human 
structures— the  clan.  A  clan  or  cult  is  a  small  group  of  human 
beings  organized  around  a  religious  goal. 

Remember,  you  are  basically  a  primate.  You  are  designed  by 
the  2-billion-year  blueprint  to  live  in  a  small  band. 

You  cannot  accept  the  political  or  spiritual  leadership  of 
anyone  you  cannot  touch,  con-spire  (breathe)  with,  worship 
with,  get  high  with. 

Your  clan  must  be  centered  on  a  shrine  and  a  totem  spiritual 
energy  source.  To  the  clan  you  dedicate  your  highest  loyalty, 
and  to  you  the  clan  offers  its  complete  protection. 

But  the  clan  must  be  centered  on  religious  goals.  Religion 
means  being  tuned  in  to  the  natural  rhythm.  Religion  is  the 
turn-on,  tune-in,  drop-out  process. 

Because  you  and  your  clan  brothers  are  turned  on,  you  will 
radiate  energy.  You  will  attract  attention— hostility  from  the 
TV  establishment,  enthusiastic  interest  from  rootless  TV  actors 
who  wish  to  join  your  clan.  Everyone  basically  wants  to  turn  on, 
tune  in,  and  drop  out. 

Avoid  conflict  with  the  establishment.  Avoid  recruiting  and 
rapid  growth.  Preserve  clan  harmony. 

Your  clan  must  be  limited  to  essential  friends. 

You  must  guard  against  the  TV  power  tendency  toward  ex- 
p  a  n  s     i     o     n. 

Your  clan  cannot  become  a  mail-order,  mass-numbers  organi- 

The  structure  of  your  clan  must  be  cellular. 

The  center  of  your  religion  must  be  a  private,  holy  place. 

The  activities  of  your  religion  must  be  limited  to  the  turn-on, 
tune-in,  drop-out  sequence.  Avoid  commitments  to  TV-studio 
power  games. 

You  must  start  your  own  religion.  You  are  God— but  only  you 
can  discover  and  nurture  your  divinity.  No  one  can  start  your 
religion  for  you. 

In  particular,  those  Americans  who  use  psychedelic  chemi- 
cals—marijuana, peyote,  LSD— must  appraise  their  goals  and 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  228 

games  realistically.  You  smoke  pot?  Good.  But  why?  As  part  o£ 
your  personality  game?  As  part  of  the  American  TV-studio 
perspective?  To  enhance  your  ego?  As  part  of  your  TV  role  as 
hipster,  sophisticate,  rebel?  Because  it  is  the  in-thing  to  do  in 
your  stage  set?  Because  it  is  a  social-psychological  habit?  Good. 
Keep  on.  The  "pot  game"  is  a  fascinating  scenario  to  act  out, 
the  entertaining  game  of  illicit  kicks. 

There  is  another  way  of  viewing  psychedelic  drugs,  including 
pot:  from  the  perspective  of  history.  For  thousands  of  years  the 
greatest  artists,  poets,  philosophers,  and  lovers  have  used  con- 
sciousness-expanding substances  to  turn  on,  tune  in,  drop  out. 
As  part  of  the  search  for  the  meaning  of  life.  As  tools  to  reach 
new  levels  of  awareness.  To  see  beyond  the  immediate  social 
game.  For  revelation.  For  light  in  the  darkness  of  the  long 

Every  great  burst  of  activity  has  grown  out  of  a  psychedelic 
turn-on.  The  visionary  then  rushes  back  to  tune  in,  to  pass  on 
the  message.  A  new  art  form.  A  new  mode  of  expression.  He 
turns  others  on.  A  cult  is  formed.  A  new  TV  stage  set  is 
designed,  one  that  is  closer  to  the  family-clan-tribal  cell  struc- 
ture of  our  species. 

Do  you  wish  to  use  marijuana  and  LSD  to  get  beyond  the  TV 
scenario?  To  enhance  creativity?  As  catalysts  to  deepen  wisdom? 

If  so,  you  will  be  helped  by  making  explicit  the  religious 
nature  of  your  psychedelic  activities.  To  give  meaning  to  your 
own  script,  to  clarify  your  relationships  with  others,  and  to  cope 
with  the  present  legal  setup,  you  will  do  well  to  start  your  own 

How  to  Start  Your  Own  Religion 

First,  decide  with  whom  you  will  make  the  voyage  of  discovery. 
If  you  have  a  family,  certainly  you  will  include  them.  If  you 
have  close  friends,  you  will  certainly  want  to  include  them.  The 
question,  with  whom  do  I  league  for  spiritual  discovery?  is  a 
fascinating  exercise. 

start  Your  Own  Religion  [  229 

Next,  sit  down  with  your  spiritual  companions  and  put  on  a 
page  the  plan  for  your  trip.  Write  down  and  define  your: 







Space-time  locales 

Mythic  context 

Here  is  an  interesting  exercise.  You  will  learn  a  lot  about 
yourself  and  your  companions.  You  will  see  where  you  are  and 
where  you  are  not. 

You  will  find  it  necessary  to  be  explicit  about  the  way  your 
clan  handles  authority,  responsibility,  sexual  relations,  money, 
economics,  defense,  communication. 

In  short,  you  ?re  forming  not  only  your  own  religion  but 
your  own  naiun  -^ol'tical  imit.  This  is  inevitable  because  the 
basic  political  unit  is  exactly  the  same  as  the  basic  spiritual 
grouping— the  clan.  Did  you  reah^  beli'^v<^  that  church  was  only 
where  you  went  for  an  hour  on  Sunday  morning? 

Make  your  clan  unique.  Do  not  slavishly  copy  the  roles  and 
language  of  other  groups.  The  beauty  of  cellular  life  is  that  each 
unit  is  both  so  incredibly  complexly  similar  and  also  so  unique. 
The  more  you  understand  the  infinite  complexity  of  life,  the 
more  you  treasure  both  the  similarities  and  the  differences.  But 
you  have  to  be  turned  on  to  see  it.  At  the  level  of  the  studio- 
prop  game,  both  the  similarities  and  the  differences  are  trivial. 

In  defining  the  goal  of  your  religion,  you  need  not  use 
conventional  religious  language.  You  don't  have  to  make  your 
spiritual  journey  sound  "religious."  Religion  cannot  be  pomp- 
ous and  high-flown.  Religion  is  consciousness  expansion,  cen- 
tered in  the  body  and  defined  exactly  the  way  it  sounds  best  to 
you.  Don't  be  intimidated  by  Caesar's  Hollywood  fake  versions 
of  religiosity.  If  life  has  a  meaning  for  you  beyond  the  TV- 
studio  game,  you  are  religious.  Spell  it  out. 

So  write  out  your  own  language  for  the  trip:  God  or  evolu- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  230 

tion,  acid  or  sacrament,  guide  or  guru,  purgatorial  redemption 
or  bad  trip,  mystic  revelation  or  good  high.  Say  it  naturally. 

Develop  your  own  rituals  and  costumes.  Robes  or  gray  flannel 
suits,  amulets  or  tattoos.  You  will  eventually  find  yourself 
engaged  in  a  series  of  sacred  moments  which  feel  right  to  you. 

Step  by  step 

all  your  actions 

will  take  on  a  sacra 

mental  meaning.  Inevit 

ably  you  will  create  a  ritual 
sequence  for  each  sense  organ 

and  for  each  of  the  basic  energy  ex 
changes— eating,  bathing,  mating,  etc. 

You  must  be  explicit  about  the  space-time  arrangement  for 
your  God  game.  Each  room  in  your  home  will  contain  a  shrine. 
Your  house  will  not  be  a  TV  actor's  dressing  room  but  rather  a 
spiritual  center.  Regular  rhythms  of  worship  will  emerge— daily 
meditation  (turn-on)  sessions  (with  or  without  marijuana) , 
and  once  a  week  or  once  a  month  you  will  devote  a  whole  day  to 
turning  on.  Time  your  worship  to  the  rhythm  of  the  seasons,  to 
the  planetary  calendar. 

Spell  out  on  paper  explicit  plan$  for  handling  financial 
interaction^.  Money  i$  a  completely  irrational  focu$  for  mo$t 
We$terner$.  A$  $oon  a$  your  clan  member}  detach  them$elve| 
emotionally  from  money,  you  will  discover  how  easy  it  is  to 
survive  economically.  There  must  be  a  complete  and  collabora- 
tive pooling  of  money  and  work  energy.  Any  $elfi$h  holding 
back  of  dollar}  or  muscular  energy  will  weaken  the  clan.  Each 
clan,  as  it  drops  out  of  the  American  game,  must  appraise  its 
resources  and  figure  out  how  to  barter  with  other  groups.  Each 
clan  will  develop  its  own  productivity. 

Sexuality  is  the  downfall  of  most  religious  cults.  Clarity  and 
honesty  are  necessary.  Karmic  accidental  differences  exist  in 
people's  sexual  makeup.  Basically,  each  man  is  made  to  mate 
with  one  woman.  Heterosexual  monogamous  fidelity  is  the  only 
natural  way  of  sexual  union.  However,  because  this  is  the  Kali 

start  Your  Own  Religion  [  231 

Yuga,  and  because  we  live  in  the  final  stages  of  a  sick  society, 
sexual  variations  are  inevitable. 

Your  mode  of  sexual  union  is  the  key  to  your  religion.  You 
cannot  escape  this.  The  way  you  ball  (or  avoid  balling)  is  your 
central  sacramental  activity.  The  sexual  proclivity  of  the  clan 
must  be  explicit  and  inflexible.  Do  not  attempt  to  establish  clan 
relationships  with  persons  of  a  different  sexual  persuasion. 
There  is  no  value  judgment  here.  Sex  is  sacred.  People  of  like 
sexual  temperament  must  form  their  own  spiritual  cults. 
Homosexuality  is  not  an  illness.  It  is  a  religious  way  of  life. 
Homosexuals  should  accept  their  state  as  a  religious  path. 
Homosexuals  cannot  join  heterosexual  clans.  Homosexuals 
should  treasure,  glorify,  their  own  sexual  yoga.  Their  right  to 
pursue  their  sacred  bodily  yoga  is  guaranteed  to  them.  Hetero- 
sexual clans  can  support,  help,  learn  from,  teach  homosexual 
clans,  but  the  difference  must  be  preserved— with  mutual  re- 

Some  spiritual  people  are  not  compatible  with  the  monoga- 
mous union  and  prefer  a  freer  sexual  regime,  the  group  mar- 
riage. GoodI  Many  tribes  and  clans  throughout  the  planet  have 
flourished  in  complete  and  holy  promiscuity.  But  be  explicit. 
Painful  confusions  occur  if  sexual  orientations  and  sexual 
taboos  (cellular  and  physical,  not  psychological  or  cultural)  are 
disregarded  in  forming  clans. 

Select  clan  members  who  share  or  complement  your  style, 
your  way  of  tuning  in,  your  temperament,  your  sexual  orien- 

The  aim  of  clan  living  is  to  subordinate  the  ego  game  to  the 
family  game— the  clan  game. 

You  will  do  well  to  have  an  explicit  connection  to  a  mythic 
figure.  You  must  select  a  historical  psychedelic  guide.  You  must 
know  your  mythic  origins.  Facts  and  news  are  reports  from  the 
current  TV  drama.  They  have  no  relevance  to  your  2-billion- 
year-old  divinity.  Myth  is  the  report  from  the  cellular  memory 
bank.  Myths  humanize  the  recurrent  themes  of  evolution. 

You  select  a  myth  as  a  reminder  that  you  are  part  of  an 
ancient  and  holy  process.  You  select  a  myth  to  guide  you  when 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  232 

you  drop  out  of  the  narrow  confines  of  the  fake-prop  studio 

Your  mythic  guide  must  be  one  who  has  solved  the  death- 
rebirth  riddle.  A  TV  drama  hero  cannot  help  you.  Caesar, 
Napoleon,  Kennedy  are  no  help  to  your  cellular  orientation. 
Christ,  Lao-tse,  Hermes  Trismegistus,  Socrates  are  recurrent 
turn-on  figures. 

You  will  find  it  absolutely  necessary  to  leave  the  city.  Urban 
living  is  spiritually  suicidal.  The  cities  of  America  are  about  to 
crumble  as  did  Rome  and  Babylon.  Go  to  the  land.  Go  to  the 

Psychedelic  centers  located  in  cities  will  serve  as  collecting 
areas.  Thousands  of  spiritual  seekers  are  coming  to  urban  dis- 
tricts where  they  meet  in  meditation  centers  and  psychedelic 
assembly  places.*  There  they  form  their  clans.  They  migrate 
from  the  city. 

The  Legal  Question 

Unless  you  form  your  own  new  religion  and  devote  an  increas- 
ing amount  of  your  energies  to  it,  you  are  (however  exciting 
your  personality  TV  role)  a  robot.  Your  new  religion  can  be 
formed  only  by  you.  Do  not  wait  for  a  messiah.  Do  it  yourself. 

The  goals,  roles,  rules,  rituals,  values,  language,  space-tie 
locale,  and  mythic  context  of  your  religion  must  be  put  on 
paper  for  two  reasons.  One,  to  make  the  journey  clear  and 
explicit  for  yourself  and  your  clan  members,  and  two,  to  deal 
with  Caesar. 

The  relationship  between  Caesar  and  the  God  seeker  has 

*  Psychedelic  centers  are  rapidly  springing  up  in  metropolitan  areas,  and  this 
tendency  must  be  encouraged.  A  simple  format  for  a  psychedelic  enterprise 
may  involve  a  shop  front  with  a  meditation  room  in  the  rear.  Numerous 
shops  calling  themselves  "psychedelic"  are  springing  up  throughout  the  country. 
This  development  is  inevitable,  but  one  should  be  skeptical  about  the  spiritual 
nature  of  such  commercial  enterprises  unless  they  include  a  meditation  room. 
Psychedelic  businesses  should  support  spiritual  communities  and  provide  centers 
for  clan  formation. 

start  Your  Own  Religion  [  233 

always  been  uneasy.  But  the  boundaries  of  the  tension  can  be 
defined  precisely,  and  if  you  are  clear  in  your  mind,  there  can 
be  no  confusion.  You  can  move  with  exactness  and  confidence. 

Everything  that  exists  outside  your  body  and  your  shrine 
belongs  to  Caesar.  Caesar  has  constructed  the  fake-prop  studio 
for  his  king-of-the-mountain  game,  and  he  can  have  it.  High- 
ways, property,  status,  power,  money,  weapons,  all  things,  all 
external  man-made  objects  belong  to  him.  The  spiritual  life  is 
completely  detached  from  these  props.  Obey  Caesar's  TV  studio 
rules  when  you  are  in  his  studios.  Avoid  any  participation  in  his 

But  remember,  your  body  is  the  kingdom  of  heaven,  and 
your  home  is  the  shrine  in  which  the  kingdom  of  heaven  is  to  be 
found.  What  you  do  inside  your  body,  what  energies  you  let 
contact  your  sense  organs,  and  what  you  put  into  your  body  is 
your  business.* 

All  you  need  do  to  protect  the  divinity  of  your  body  and  the 
sanctity  of  your  shrine  is  to  be  explicit— and  to  worship  with 
dignity  and  courage. 

Write  down  an  eightfold  definition  of  your  religion  (goal, 
role,  rule,  ritual,  value,  language,  myth,  space-time  locale) .  By 
doing  so,  you  have  formed  your  religion.  The  First  Amendment 
to  the  Constitution,  the  charter  of  the  UN,  and  the  ancient 
traditions  of  human  history  give  you  protection  to  alter  your 
own  consciousness  inside  your  shrine. 

If  you  take  a  psychedelic  sacrament,  leave  your  house  and 
commit  a  disorder  on  Caesar's  streets;  let  him  arrest  you  for 
overt  crime.  But  your  right  to  turn  on  in  your  home  is  sacred. 
You  make  your  home  a  shrine  by  writing  it  into  the  charter  of 
your  religion. 

In  writing  your  charter,  you  must  specify  where  you  will  take 
the  sacrament  and  with  whom.  The  charter  does  not  permit  you 
to  turn  on  anywhere.  You  must  respect  the  possessive  claims  of 
Caesar  to  his  fake-front  stage  sets.  And  you  must  also  specify 
visible  objects  of  worship  which  will  be  found  in  your  shrine— a 

*  You  are  God:  Remember! 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  234 

statue  of  Buddha,  a  picture  of  Christ,  a  rock,  a  wooden  carving. 
You  choose,  but  be  explicit. 

Get  your  charter  notarized,  or  mail  it  to  yourself  in  a  post- 
marked envelope.  You  have  thereby  established,  before  possible 
conflict  with  Caesar's  police,  your  religion.  These  are  the  mini- 
mum steps  required  to  protect  your  use  of  psychedelic  drugs.  If 
you  don't  care  enough  to  do  this,  you  don't  care  enough. 

But  further  steps  are  preferable.  It  is  highly  advisable,  and 
quite  simple,  to  incorporate  your  religion  under  the  laws  of 
your  state.  Consult  a  lawyer— a  psychedelic  lawyer  if  possible. 
There  are  thousands  of  them  around.  How?  Well,  he'll  be 
under  the  age  of  thirty.  Your  local  ACLU  would  be  a  good 
place  to  start.  Ask  him  to  file  incorporation  papers  which  are 
standard  and  which  every  lawyer  has  in  mimeographed  outline. 

Follow  the  simple  steps  necessary  to  complete  the  forms,  and 
in  short  order,  you  are  a  legally  incorporated  religion.  Your 
own  sense  of  dignity  and  commitment  to  the  spiritual  life  is 
encouraged.  Your  posture  and  confidence  vis-a-vis  Caesar's  Key- 
stone Kops  is  immeasurably  strengthened. 

But  you  must  play  it  straight.  Don't  sign  anything  you  aren't 
going  to  live  up  to.  On  the  other  hand,  leave  room  in  your 
charter  for  easy  revision  of  your  religious  practices.  You  are  a 
young,  growing  religion.  For  God's  sake,  don't  get  caught  in 
rigidities  at  the  beginning. 

Use  psychedelic  sacraments  only  in  designated  shrines  and  only 
with  members  of  a  psychedelic  religion.  If  you  are  going  to  be 
naughty  and  smoke  pot  in  the  washroom  of  one  of  Caesar's  stage 
sets,  why  that's  all  right— but  be  clear;  you  waive  your  religious 
rights.  Do  what  you  will,  but  be  conscious  and  don't  mix  up 
your  naughty  game  with  your  religious  game. 

After  you  have  incorporated  your  religion,  you  can  file  the 
application  forms  and  a  description  of  methods  of  worship  in 
the  attorney's  office.  In  case  of  any  misunderstanding  with 
Caesar's  cops,  you  will  be  effectively  prepared.  Don't  be  sur- 
prised at  the  idea  of  having  a  lawyer  to  handle  your  psychedelic 
affairs.  Psychedelic  lawyers  will  be  the  most  numerous  and 
popular  segment  of  the  legal  profession  in  15  years.  For  a  small 
amount  of  money  you  can  have  ongoing  legal  protection  for 

start  Your  Own  Religion  [  235 

your  religion.  You'd  do  it  for  your  business,  wouldn't  you?  It's 
better  yet  if  you  find  a  lawyer  who  is  ready  to  join  your  clan.* 

There  is  a  third  legal  step  which  many  psychedelic  religion- 
ists will  want  to  take— the  licensing  for  the  importation  and 
distribution  of  illegal  sacraments  such  as  marijuana  and  LSD. 
The  legal  procedure  involved  in  obtaining  permission  to  use 
drugs  is  called  a  declaratory  judgment.  This  procedure  can 
result  in  a  court  declaration  that  an  individual  or  a  group  may, 
with  the  sanction  of  law,  use  drugs  freely  for  religious  purposes. 

In  requesting  a  declaratory  judgment  to  import  and  distrib- 
ute illegal  sacraments  (and  remember  here  that  alcohol,  nico- 
tine, and  automobiles  are  also  illegal— except  to  licensed  oper- 
ators) ,  you  are  asking  nothing  more  than  was  permitted  to 
Catholic  priests  and  Jewish  rabbis  during  alcohol  prohibition. 
These  religionists  were  allowed  to  import  and  distribute  an 
illegal  drug— booze— for  distribution  only  by  priests  and  only  in 
designated  shrines.  The  quarter  of  a  million  members  of  the 
Native  American  Church  are  similarly  licensed  to  use  peyote,  a 
plant  much  more  powerful  than  marijuana. 

The  filing  for  a  declaratory  judgment  requires  more  commit- 
ment and  energy— and  thus  becomes  the  third  test  of  your 
religious  stamina.  How  much  do  you  care? 

By  the  end  of  1968  we  expect  that  thousands  of  such  applica- 
tions will  be  flooding  the  courts.  In  each  case,  the  decision  as  to 
whether  the  applicants  are  entitled  to  a  license  to  smoke  mari- 
juana and  use  LSD  will  have  to  be  made  on  the  merits  of  the 
case.  Each  judge  and  jury  will  have  to  rule  on  the  sincerity  of 
the  applicants.  What  a  wonderful  exercise!  Thousands  of 
groups  of  young  Americans  will  choose  to  present  and  defend 
their  new  religions  in  the  courts.  What  a  beautiful  forum  for 
free  debate  on  the  values  of  marijuana  as  opposed  to  boozel 

Thousands  of  jury  members  and  hundreds  of  judges  will  be 

In  all  of  these  activities  there  is  no  hostility,  no  competition, 
no  conflict  with  Caesar.  Love  and  humor  are  the  means.  The 
ends  will  follow. 

•  Your  lawyer  can  write  to  the  League  for  Spiritual  Discovery  for  further  legal 
information,  relevant  briefs,  precedents,  etc. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  236 

Dr.  Leary,  What  Will  Happen  to  Society  After  Everyone 
Turns  On,  Tunes  In,  and  Drops  Out? 

An  interesting  indication  of  the  "miraculous"  growth  of  LSD 
comes  in  the  form  of  the  question:  What  will  happen  to  society 
after  everyone  turns  on,  tunes  in,  and  drops  out? 

At  the  surface,  the  question  seems  naive.  Nowhere  and  never 
does  everyone  do  the  same  thing  at  the  same  time.  It's  all 
planned  in  cycles  by  the  DNA  code.  Organic  changes  occur 
gradually  and  invisibly. 

This  question  reflects  the  sudden  panic  of  the  TV  bit  player. 
What  will  happen  to  me  if  the  show  goes  off  the  air?  Will  I  lose 
my  little  part?  What  an  incomparable  tragedy  if  these  card- 
board studio  walls  were  to  fall  down  I 

The  emotional  response  to  this  game  terror  is  reassurance. 
Don't  worry.  Your  life  begins  when  your  TV  game  ends.  Turn 
on,  tune  in,  drop  out.  Then  you  are  free  to  walk  out  of  the 
studio— a  god  in  the  Garden  of  Eden. 

The  intellectual  answer  to  the  question  is  infinitely  complex, 
depending  upon  how  much  time  and  energy  one  can  mobilize 
for  Utopian  planning.  The  League  for  Spiritual  Discovery  has 
worked  out  detailed  blueprints  for  the  next  cycle  of  man's  social 
evolution.  Future  manuals  will  be  published  by  the  league 
describing  the  year-by-year  unfolding. 

In  summary:  be  prepared  for  a  complete  change  of  American 
urban  technology.  Grass  will  grow  in  Times  Square  within  ten 
years.  The  great  soil-murdering  lethal  skyscrapers  will  come 
down.  Didn't  you  know  they  were  stage  sets?  Didn't  you  know 
they  had  to  come  down?  The  transition  will  come  either  vio- 
lently (by  war)  or  gently,  aesthetically,  through  a  psychedelic 
dropout  process. 

In  any  case,  there  is  nothing  for  you  to  do  in  a  collective 
political  sense.  Turn  on,  tune  in,  drop  out.  Discover  and  nur- 
ture your  own  divinity  and  that  of  your  friends  and  family 

Center  on  your  clan  and  the  natural  order  will  prevail. 


American  Education  as  an  Addictive 
Process  and  Its  Cure* 

The  topic  is  the  individual  in  the  college,  his  commitments  and 
his  work.  A  broad  subject  indeed!  Let  us  define  the  task  more 
specifically.  Let's  aim  the  dialogue  to  each  of  you,  who  are,  after 
all,  individuals  in  the  college.  Let's  talk  directly  and  propheti- 
cally to  your  situation. 

Let's  set  an  ambitious  goal  to  present  the  most  important 
message  you  have  ever  listened  to,  to  present  a  challenge  which 
will  change  some  of  your  lives.  This  may  sound  immodest  but 
it's  not,  really,  because  what  we  shall  consider  has  nothing  to  do 
with  me  personally.  Like  the  other  speakers,  I,  too,  have  been 
sent  over  by  Central  Casting  to  read  my  lines  in  the  scenario  we 
are  working  on  today.  I  am  simply  a  temporary  mouthpiece  for 
the  message  you  are  about  to  hear.  Another  reason  for  setting  a 
bold  goal  is  that  this  is  my  last  performance  in  this  particular 
drama.  This  is  my  last  lecture  as  a  college  teacher  to  a  college 
audience,  and  after  the  performance  I'm  going  to  take  off  the 
greasepaint  and  change  uniform  and  move  on  to  another  show. 

The  third  reason  for  claiming  that  my  ambition  today  is  not 
immodest  is  that  I  am  saying  nothing  new.  I  didn't  write  the 

•  This  chapter  is  a  revision  of  a  lecture  given  by  Dr.  Timothy  Leary  at  the 
Second  Annual  Symposium  on  American  Values,  Central  Washington  State 
College,  Ellensburg,  Washington,  April  1963.  One  week  following  the  lecture, 
the  speaker  was  fired  from  Harvard  University  for  being  absent  from  class,  a 
paradoxical  charge  since  his  regularly  scheduled  courses  had  been  assigned  to 
other  professors  the  preceding  September. 


The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  238 

script.  The  lines  were  written  by  the  oldest  playwright  in  the 
business.  I  am  simply  repeating  the  oldest  message  in  human 
history.  We  know,  of  course,  that  the  wise  men  don't  talk.  The 
Book  of  Tao  tells  us  that  he  who  knows,  speaks  not  and  he  who 
speaks,  knows  not.  When  the  wise  men  in  the  past  did  talk,  they 
have  always  written  the  same  book.  They  have  always  told  us 
the  same  message,  repeated  in  a  different  dialect,  using  the 
metaphor  of  their  time,  using  the  vocabulary  of  their  tribe,  but 
it  is  always  the  same  message.  "Turn  off  your  mind.  Step  for  a 
moment  or  two  out  of  your  own  ego.  Stop  your  robot  activity 
for  a  while.  Stop  the  game  you  are  in.  Look  within." 

Oh,  words!  More  good  advice  1  The  words  that  I  have  just 
given  you  are  pretty  trite  and  cliche  today  in  the  twentieth 
century,  aren't  they?  But  3,000  years  ago,  when  they  were  first 
enunciated,  they  were  tremendously  exciting.  They  probably 
brought  about  biochemical  changes  in  the  neurosystems  of  the 
people  that  heard  these  chants  for  the  first  time.  Of  course,  now 
in  the  twentieth  century,  we  are  bombarded  by  words,  thou- 
sands of  words  an  hour,  so  that  what  I've  just  said  is  only 
another  tattoo  of  syllables  bouncing  off  your  ears.  Today  we 
don't  know  what  to  look  for  if  we  try  to  get  out  of  our  game, 
and  we  don't  know  how  to  do  it. 

Now  if  you  look  at  some  of  the  metaphors  that  were  used  by 
these  men  in  the  past  who  changed  the  course  of  human  history, 
the  great  visionaries,  the  great  religious  leaders,  the  great 
poets,  you  find  an  interesting  correlation,  a  similarity.  They  all 
found  the  same  thing  when  they  looked  within.  They  talked 
about  the  inner  light,  about  the  soul,  the  divine  flame,  the 
spark,  or  the  seed  of  life,  or  the  white  light  of  the  void.  You  will 
recognize  that  I  have  just  ranged  in  these  metaphors  through 
several  great  philosophers,  both  Eastern  and  Western.  All  of 
these  metaphors  rang  true  and  were  right  at  the  time.  We  can 
recognize  now  that  they  were  clumsy  metaphors  for  what  are 
actually  physiological  processes  within  our  nervous  system. 
Listen  I  Each  of  those  poetic  images  within  the  next  2  to  5  years 
is  going  to  be  validated  by  modern  biochemistry  and  modern 

American  Education  as  an  Addictive  Process  and  Its  Cure         [  239 

Let  me  define  the  problem  as  I  see  it.  I  want  to  define  it  first 
of  all  ontologically,  in  the  scientific  sense,  and  then  later  I'll 
talk  about  the  social  aspects  of  the  problem  which  we  now  face. 

Ontologically  there  are  an  infinite  number  of  realities,  each 
one  defined  by  the  particular  space-time  dimension  which  you 
use.  From  the  standpoint  of  one  reality,  we  may  think  that  the 
other  realities  are  hallucinatory,  or  psychotic,  or  far  out,  or 
mysterious,  but  that  is  just  because  we're  caught  at  the  level  of 
one  space-time  perception. 

For  many  people  it's  an  infuriating  thought  that  there  are 
many,  many  realities.  Last  week,  I  was  giving  a  lecture  on 
consciousness  expansion  with  Professor  Alpert  at  the  Aero-Space 
Institute  in  Los  Angeles.  A  young  engineer  happened  to  be  in 
the  building  that  night,  busy  with  some  aerospace  activity,  and 
as  he  was  leaving  the  building,  he  saw  this  crowd  in  a  large 
room,  and  he  came  in  to  listen.  After  the  lecture  was  over  and 
we  were  on  the  way  out,  he  stopped  us  and  started  to  argue 
about  reality.  He  could  hardly  talk,  he  was  so  mad.  He  said, 
"There  is  only  one  reality,  the  reality  that  is  here,  the  reality  of 
our  physical  laws,  and  for  you  to  say  that  there  is  a  range  of 
realities,  and  particularly  to  say  that  this  range  might  be 
brought  about  by  drugs,  is  intellectual  fraud,  deceiving  your 
fellow  man!"  It  seemed  to  disturb  him  and  make  him  angry  to 
think  that  this  solidity  (which  we  are  convinced  exists  around 
us)  is  perhaps  just  one  level  of  an  enormously  complex  con- 
tinuum of  realities.  Now  it's  bad  enough  to  say  that  there  are 
other  realities,  but  it's  really  intolerable  if  we  suggest  that  some 
of  the  other  realities  are  more  conducive  to  ecstasy,  happiness, 
wisdom,  to  more  effective  activity,  than  our  familiar  reality.  So 
much  for  the  general  ontological  situation.  Let  us  try  to  spell 
this  out  in  more  exact  terms. 

The  social  reality  in  which  we  have  been  brought  up  and 
which  we  have  been  taught  to  perceive  and  deal  with  is  a  fairly 
gross  and  static  affair.  But  it  misses  the  real  excitement.  The 
real  hum  and  drama,  the  beauty  of  the  electronic,  cellular, 
somatic,  sensory  energy  process  have  no  part  in  our  usual  picture 
of  reality.  We  can't  see  the  life  process.  We  are  surrounded  by  it 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  240 

all  the  time.  It  is  exploding  inside  of  us  in  a  billion  cells  in  our 
body,  but  most  of  the  time  we  can't  experience  it.  We  are  blind 
to  it.  For  example,  how  do  we  know  when  another  person  is 
alive?  We  have  to  poke  his  robot  body  and  listen  to  his  heart, 
look  for  some  movement.  If  he  breathes,  he  is  alive.  But  that  is 
not  the  life  process.  That  is  just  the  external  symptom.  It's  like 
seeing  that  the  car  moves,  and  from  the  fact  that  the  body  of  the 
car  moves,  inferring  that  the  motor  is  going  inside.  We  can  hear 
the  car  motor,  we  can  brake,  but  we  can't  tune  in  on  the 
machinery  of  life  inside  ourselves  or  around  us.  Now  at  this 
point  you  must  be  thinking,  well,  poor  Leary,  he  has  gone  too 
far  out.  But  really  I  don't  think  that  it  should  be  this  difficult  to 
accept  logically  the  fact  that  there  are  many  realities  and  that 
the  most  exciting  things  that  happen,  cellular  and  nuclear 
processes,  the  manufacture  of  protein  from  DNA  blueprints,  are 
not  at  the  level  of  our  routine  perception.  And  for  that  matter, 
that  the  most  complex  communications,  the  most  creative  proc- 
esses, exist  at  levels  of  which  we  are  not  ordinarily  aware. 

Let's  take  an  analogy.  Suppose  that  you  had  never  heard  of 
the  microscope,  and  I  came  before  you  and  said,  "Ladies  and 
gentlemen,  I  have  an  instrument  which  brings  into  view  an 
entirely  different  picture  of  reality,  according  to  which  this 
world  around  us  which  seems  to  have  solidity  and  symmetry  and 
certain  form  is  actually  made  up  of  organisms,  each  of  which  is  a 
universe;  there  is  a  world  inside  a  drop  of  water.  A  drop  of 
blood  is  like  a  galaxy.  A  leaf  is  a  fantastic  organization  perhaps 
more  complicated  than  our  own  social  structure."  You  would 
think  that  I  was  pretty  far  out,  until  that  moment  when  I  could 
persuade  you  to  put  your  eye  down  to  the  microscope,  show  you 
how  to  focus,  and  then  you  would  share  the  wonder  which  I  had 
tried  to  communicate  to  you.  All  right,  we  know  that  cellular 
activity  is  infinitely  complex. 

We  tend  to  think  of  our  external,  leatherlike  skin  body  as  the 
basic  ontological  frame  of  reference.  The  center  of  our  universe. 
This  foolish  egocentricity  becomes  apparent  when  we  compare 
our  body  with  a  tractor.  We  usually  think  of  a  tractor  or  a 
harvesting  machine  as  a  clumsy,  crude  instrument  which  just 

American  Education  as  an  Addictive  Process  and  its  Cure         [  241 

organizes  and  brings  food  for  us  to  feed  our  mouths.  But  from 
the  standpoint  of  the  cell,  the  animal's  body,  the  human  being's 
body,  your  body,  is  a  clumsy  instrument,  the  function  of  which 
is  to  transport  the  necessary  supplies  to  keep  the  cellular  life 
process  going.  And  we  realize,  when  we  study  biology  textbooks, 
that  our  body  is  actually  a  complex  set  of  soft-divine  machines 
serving  in  myriad  ways  the  needs  of  the  cell.  These  concepts  can 
be  a  little  disturbing  to  our  egocentric  and  our  anthropocentric 
point  of  view. 

But  then  we've  just  started,  because  the  fellow  with  the 
electron  microscope  comes  along.  And  he  says,  "Well,  your 
microscope  and  your  cell  is  nothing!  Sure,  the  cell  is  compli- 
cated, but  there's  a  whole  universe  inside  the  atom  in  which 
activities  move  with  the  speed  of  light,  and  talk  about  excite- 
ment, talk  about  fun,  talk  about  communication,  well,  now 
here  at  the  electron  level  we're  just  getting  into  it."  And  then 
the  astronomer  comes  along  with  his  instruments,  and  off  we  go 

The  interesting  thing  to  me  about  this  new  vision  of  many 
realities  that  science  confronts  us  with  (however  unwilling  we 
are  to  look  at  it)  is  this:  the  closer  and  closer  connection 
between  the  cosmology  of  modern  science  and  the  cosmology  of 
some  of  the  Eastern  religions,  in  particular,  Hinduism  and 
Buddhism.  I  have  a  strong  suspicion  that  within  the  next  few 
years,  we  are  going  to  see  many  of  the  hypotheses  of  our  Chris- 
tian mystics  and  many  of  the  cosmological  and  ontological 
theories  of  Eastern  philosophers  spelled  out  objectively  in  bio- 
chemical terms.  Now,  all  of  these  phenomena  "out  there"  made 
visible  by  the  electron  microscope,  the  telescope,  are  wounding 
enough  to  our  pride  and  our  anthropomorphism  (which 
Robert  Ardry  calls  the  "romantic  fallacy") ,  but  here,  perhaps 
the  most  disturbing  of  all,  comes  modern  pharmacology.  Now 
we  have  evidence  which  suggests  that  by  ingesting  a  tiny  bit  of 
substance  which  will  change  biochemical  balances  inside  our 
nervous  system,  it's  possible  to  experience  directly  some  of  the 
things  which  we  externally  view  through  the  lenses  of  the 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  242 

I  will  have  more  to  say  about  the  applications  and  implica- 
tions of  educational  chemistry  shortly.  I'd  like  to  stop  and 
consider  briefly  the  social-political  and  educational  problems 
which  are  the  subject  of  our  symposium.  We  have  told  each 
other  over  and  over  again  during  the  last  two  days  of  the 
conference  that  we're  in  pretty  bad  shape.  Well,  I'm  not  quite 
that  pessimistic.  What's  in  bad  shape?  The  cellular  process  isn't 
in  bad  shape.  The  supreme  intelligence,  if  you  want  to  use  that 
corny  twentieth-century  phrase  for  the  DNA  molecule,  isn't  in 
bad  shape.  For  that  matter,  the  human  species  is  going  to 
survive,  probably  in  some  mutated  form.  What's  in  bad  shape? 
Our  social  games.  Our  secular  traditions,  our  favorite  concepts, 
our  cultural  systems.  These  transitory  phenomena  are  collaps- 
ing and  will  have  to  give  way  to  more  advanced  evolutionary 

I'm  very  optimistic  about  the  cellular  process  and  the  human 
species  because  they  are  part,  we  are  part  of  the  fantastic 
rushing  flow  which  has  been  pounding  along  from  one  incred- 
ible climax  to  another  for  some  2  billion  years.  And  you  can't 
stay  back  there,  hanging  on  to  a  rock  in  the  stream.  You've  got 
to  go  along  with  the  flow;  you've  got  to  trust  the  process,  and 
you've  got  to  adapt  to  it,  and  you  might  as  well  try  to  under- 
stand it  and  enjoy  it.  I  have  some  suggestions  in  a  moment  as  to 
how  to  do  exactly  that. 

We  are  all  caught  in  a  social  situation  which  is  getting  in- 
creasingly set  and  inflexible  and  frozen.  A  social  process  which  is 
hanging  on  to  a  rock  back  there  somewhere  and  keeping  us 
from  flowing  along  with  the  process.  All  the  classic  symptoms 
are  there:  professionalism,  bureaucracy,  reliance  and  overreli- 
ance  on  the  old  cliches,  too  much  attention  to  the  external  and 
material,  the  uniformity  and  conformity  caused  by  mass  com- 
munication. The  old  drama  is  repeating  itself.  It  happened  in 
Rome  and  it  happened  to  the  Persian  Empire  and  the  Turkish 
Empire  and  it  happened  in  Athens.  The  same  symptoms.  We're 
caught  in  what  seems  like  an  air-conditioned  anthill,  and  we  see 
that  we're  drifting  helplessly  toward  war,  overpopulation,  plas- 
tic stereotyping.  We're  diverted  by  our  circuses— the  space  race 

American  Education  as  an  Addictive  Process  and  Its  Cure         [  243 

and  television— but  we're  getting  scared,  and  what's  worse,  we're 
getting  bored  and  we're  ready  for  a  new  page  in  the  story.  The 
next  evolutionary  step. 

And  what  is  the  next  step?  Where  is  the  new  direction  to  be 
found?  The  wise  men  have  been  telling  us  for  3,000  years:  it's 
going  to  come  from  within,  from  within  your  head. 

The  human  being,  we  know,  is  a  very  recent  addition  to  the 
animal  kingdom.  Sometime  around  70,000  years  ago  (a  mere 
fraction  of  a  second  in  terms  of  the  evolutionary  time  scale) ,  the 
erect  primate  with  the  large  cranium  seems  to  have  appeared. 
In  a  sudden  mutational  leap  the  size  of  the  skull  and  the  brain 
is  swiftly  doubled.  A  strange  cerebral  explosion.  According  to 
one  paleo-neurological  theory  (Dr.  Tilly  Edinger) ,  "Enlarge- 
ment of  the  cerebral  hemisphere  by  50  percent  seems  to  have 
taken  place  without  having  been  accompanied  by  any  major 
increase  in  body  size." 

Thus  we  come  to  the  fascinating  possibility  that  man,  in  the 
short  infancy  of  his  existence,  has  never  learned  to  use  this  new 
neurological  machinery.  That  perhaps,  like  a  child  turned  loose 
in  the  control  room  of  a  billion-tube  computer,  man  is  just 
beginning  to  catch  on  to  the  idea,  just  beginning  to  discover 
that  there  is  an  infinity  of  meaning  and  complex  power  in  the 
equipment  he  carries  around  behind  his  own  eyebrows. 

The  first  intimation  of  this  incredible  situation  was  given  by 
Alfred  Russel  Wallace,  co-discoverer  with  Charles  Darwin  of 
what  we  call  the  theory  of  evolution.  Wallace  was  the  first  to 
point  out  that  the  so-called  savage— the  Eskimo,  the  African 
tribesman— far  from  being  an  offshoot  of  a  primitive  and  never- 
developed  species,  had  the  same  neural  equipment  as  the  liter- 
ate European.  He  just  wasn't  using  it  the  same  way.  He  hadn't 
developed  it  linguistically  and  in  other  symbolic  game  se- 
quences. "We  may  safely  infer,"  said  Wallace,  "that  the  savage 
possesses  a  brain  capable,  if  cultivated  and  developed,  of  per- 
forming work  of  a  kind  and  degree  far  beyond  what  he  is  ever 
required  to  do."  We  shall  omit  discussion  of  the  ethnocentric 
assumptions  (Protestant  ethic,  primitive-civilized)  which  are 
betrayed  in  this  quote  and  follow  the  logic  to  its  next  step. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  244 

Here  we  face  the  embarrassing  probability  that  the  same  is 
true  of  us.  In  spite  of  our  mechanical  sophistication  we  may 
well  be  savages,  simple  brutes  quite  unaware  of  the  potential 
within.  It  is  highly  likely  that  coming  generations  will  look 
back  at  us  and  wonder:  how  could  they  so  childishly  play  with 
their  simple  toys  and  primitive  words  and  remain  ignorant  of 
the  speed,  power,  and  relational  potential  within?  How  could 
they  fail  to  use  the  equipment  they  possessed? 

According  to  Loren  Eiseley  (whose  argument  I  have  been 
following  in  the  last  few  paragraphs) ,  "When  these  released 
potentialities  for  brain  growth  began,  they  carried  man  into  a 
new  world  where  the  old  laws  no  longer  held.  With  every 
advance  in  language,  in  symbolic  thought,  the  brain  paths 
multiplied.  Significantly  enough,  these  which  are  most  recently 
acquired  and  less  specialized  regions  of  the  brain,  the  'silent 
areas,'  mature  last.  Some  neurologists,  not  without  reason, 
suspect  that  here  may  lie  other  potentialities  which  only  the 
future  of  the  race  may  reveal." 

We  are  using,  then,  a  very  small  percentage  of  the  neural 
equipment,  the  brain  capacity  which  we  have  available.  We 
perceive  and  act  at  one  level  of  reality  when  there  are  any 
number  of  places,  any  number  of  directions  in  which  we  can 

Ladies  and  gentlemen,  it  is  time  to  wake  up!  It's  time  to 
really  use  our  heads.  But  how?  Let's  consider  our  topic:  the 
individual  in  college.  Can  the  college  help  us  use  our  heads?  To 
think  about  the  function  of  the  college,  we  have  to  think  about 
the  university  as  a  place  which  spawns  new  ideas  or  breaks 
through  to  new  visions.  A  place  where  we  can  learn  how  to  use 
our  neurological  equipment. 

The  university,  and  for  that  matter,  every  aspect  of  the 
educational  system,  is  paid  for  by  adult  society  to  train  young 
people  to  keep  the  same  game  going.  To  be  sure  that  you  do  not 
use  your  heads.  Students,  this  institution  and  all  educational 
institutions  are  set  up  to  anesthetize  you,  to  put  you  to  sleep. 
To  make  sure  that  you  will  leave  here  and  walk  out  into  the 
bigger  game  and  take  your  place  in  the  line.  A  robot  like  your 

American  Education  as  an  Addictive  Process  and  Its  Cure         [  245 

parents,  an  obedient,  efficient,  well-adapted  social  game  player. 
A  replaceable  part  in  the  machine. 

Now  you  are  allowed  to  be  a  tiny  bit  rebellious.  You  can  have 
fancy  ways  of  dress,  you  can  become  a  cute  teen-ager,  you  can 
have  panty  raids,  and  that  sort  of  thing.  There  is  a  little  leeway 
to  let  you  think  that  you  are  doing  things  differently.  But  don't 
let  that  kid  you. 

I  looked  at  television  last  night  for  a  few  minutes  and 
watched  a  round  table  of  high  school  students  discussing  prob- 
lems. Very  serious  social  problems.  They  were  discussing  teen- 
age drinking.  Now  the  problem  seems  to  be  that  young  people 
want  to  do  the  grown-up  things  a  little  too  fast.  You  want  to 
start  using  the  grown-ups'  narcotics  before  you're  old  enough. 
Well,  don't  be  in  such  a  hurry!  You'll  be  doing  the  adult 
drinking  pretty  soon.  You'll  be  performing  all  the  other 
standardized  adult  robot  sequences  because  that  is  what  they're 
training  you  to  do.  The  last  thing  that  an  institution  of  educa- 
tion wants  to  allow  you  to  do  is  to  expand  your  consciousness,  to 
use  the  untapped  potential  in  your  head,  to  experience  directly. 
They  don't  want  you  to  evolve,  to  grow,  to  really  grow.  They 
don't  want  you  to  move  on  to  a  different  level  of  reality.  They 
don't  want  you  to  take  life  seriously,  they  want  you  to  take  their 
game  seriously.  Education,  dear  students,  is  anesthetic,  a  nar- 
cotic procedure  which  is  very  likely  to  blunt  your  sensitivity 
and  to  immobolize  your  brain  and  your  behavior  for  the  rest  of 
your  lives. 

I  also  would  like  to  suggest  that  our  educational  process  is  an 
especially  dangerous  narcotic  because  it  probably  does  direct 
physiological  damage  to  your  nervous  system.  Let  me  explain 
what  I  mean  by  that.  Your  brain,  like  any  organ  of  your  body,  is 
a  perfect  instrument.  When  you  were  born,  you  brought  into 
the  world  this  organ  which  is  almost  perfectly  adapted  to  sense 
what  is  going  on  around  you  and  inside  of  you.  Just  as  the  heart 
knows  its  job,  your  brain  is  ready  to  do  its  job.  But  what  educa- 
tion does  to  your  head  would  be  like  taking  your  heart  and 
wrapping  rubber  bands  around  it  and  putting  springs  on  it  to 
make  sure  it  can  pump.  What  education  does  is  to  put  a  series  of 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  246 

filters  over  your  awareness  so  that  year  by  year,  step  by  step,  you 
experience  less  and  less  and  less.  A  baby,  we're  convinced,  sees 
much  more  than  we  do.  A  kid  o£  ten  or  twelve  is  still  playing 
and  moving  around  with  some  flexibility.  But  an  adult  has 
filtered  experience  down  to  just  the  plastic  reactions.  This  is  a 
biochemical  phenomenon.  There's  considerable  evidence  show- 
ing that  a  habit  is  a  neural  network  of  feedback  loops.  Like 
grooves  in  a  record,  like  muscles,  the  more  you  use  any  one  of 
the  loops,  the  more  likely  you  are  to  use  it  again.  If  there  were 
time,  I  could  spell  out  exactly  how  this  conditioning  process, 
this  educational  process,  works,  how  it  is  based  on  early,  acci- 
dental, imprinted  emotions. 

So  here  we  are  once  again.  The  monolithic,  frozen  empire  is 
about  to  fall.  We  have  been  in  this  position  many  times  in  the 
last  few  thousand  years.  What  can  we  do  about  educational 
narcosis?  How  can  you  "kick"  the  conformist  habit?  How  can 
you  learn  to  use  your  head? 

We're  all  caught  in  this  social  addictive  process.  You  young 
people  know  that  it's  not  working  out  the  way  it  could.  You 
know  you're  hooked.  You  dread  the  robot  sequence.  But  there 
is  always  the  promise,  isn't  there?  There's  always  the  come-on. 
"Keep  coming.  It's  going  to  get  better.  Something  great  is  going 
to  happen  tomorrow  if  you're  good  today."  It's  not!  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  it  gets  worse,  dear  robots. 

All  right,  where  do  we  go?  What  can  we  do?  I  have  two 
answers  to  those  questions.  The  first  is:  drop  out!  Go  out 
where  you  are  closer  to  reality,  to  direct  experience.  Go  out  to 
where  things  are  really  happening.  Go  out  to  the  frontier.  Go 
out  to  those  focal  points  where  important  issues  are  being 
played  out.  Why  don't  you  pick  out  the  most  important  prob- 
lem in  the  world,  as  you  see  it,  and  go  exactly  to  the  center  of 
the  place  where  it's  happening,  where  it  is  being  studied  and 
worked  on?  Why  not?  Someone  has  to  be  there,  in  the  center. 
Why  not  you? 

Now,  there's  a  risk  to  this.  The  first  risk  is  that  you'll  lose 
your  foothold  on  the  ladder  that  you've  been  climbing.  You'll 
lose  your  social  connection. 

American  Education  as  an  Addictive  Process  and  Its  Cure         [  247 

Undergraduates  come  to  me  very  often  and  say,  "I  want  to  go 
on  to  graduate  school  in  psychology.  Where  should  I  go?"  And  I 
always  ask  them  the  question,  "Why  do  you  want  to  study 
psychology?"  And  as  I  listen  to  them,  usually  one  of  two  answers 
develops.  Answer  number  one  is:  *'I  want  to  become  a  psy- 
chologist. I  want  to  play  the  psychology  game.  I  want  to  be  able 
to  play  the  role  and  use  the  terms  you  use,  and  I  want  to  be  an 
assistant  professor  and  then  an  associate  professor  and  then  a 
full  professor,  and  I  want  to  get  tenure,  and  maybe  if  I'm  really 
ambitious,  I  might  get  to  be  president  of  the  American  Psycho- 
logical Association."  Well,  that's  fair  enough,  and  for  someone 
who  has  that  ambition  I  can  give  them  advice  about  the  stra- 
tegic universities  to  go  to,  like  go  to  Michigan  or  Yale  but  don't 
go  to  XYZ. 

Some  students,  though,  will  say,  "I  want  to  study  psychology 
because  I  want  to  study  human  nature"  or  "I  want  to  find  out 
what's  what."  To  do  some  good.  And  then  I  can  tell  them,  well, 
forget  about  graduate  school.  What  kind  of  good  do  you  want  to 
do?  Do  you  want  to  help  the  mentally  ill?  Then  get  yourself 
committed  to  a  mental  hospital.  Stay  there  for  a  year  or  two; 
you'll  learn  more  about  mental  illness  in  that  two  years  than 
our  profession  has  learned  in  a  hundred  years.  If  you  want  to 
learn  about  delinquency  and  reducing  crime,  go  down  to  the 
tough  section,  learn  the  crime  game,  learn  how  to  make  a  man- 
to-man  contact  with  tough  guys,  learn  from  them  why  they  are 
crooks  and  criminals.  Spend  a  year  in  prison,  not  as  a  psycholo- 
gist, but  maybe  as  a  guard,  or  cleaning  up  the  garbage,  and 
you'll  learn  more  than  you  will  ever  learn  in  a  criminology 
textbook.  That  is  how  it  goes.  There  is  no  problem  that  can't  be 
best  solved  and  best  worked  out  at  this  stage  of  ignorance  by 
getting  right  into  the  reality. 

Of  course,  another  objection  to  this  suggestion  is:  "After  all, 
we  do  need  some  information  and  we  do  need  facts  and  we  have 
to  learn  them  in  university  courses."  And  I  say,  "Sure,  there  are 
existential  problems;  there  are  certain  times  when  in  trying  to 
solve  an  existential  problem  you  will  want  to  borrow  the 
experience  and  the  data  of  previous  investigators."  You  can  use 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  248 

the  library,  but  again,  beware,  it's  just  like  a  narcotic.  Library 
books  are  very  dangerous  addictive  substances.  Like  heroin, 
books  become  an  end  in  themselves.  I  made  the  suggestion  two 
years  ago  at  Harvard  University  that  they  lock  up  Widener 
Library,  put  chains  on  the  doors,  and  have  little  holes  in  the 
wall  like  in  bank  tellers'  windows,  and  if  a  student  wanted  to 
get  a  book,  he  would  have  to  come  with  a  little  slip  made  out 
showing  that  he  had  some  existential,  practical  question.  He 
wouldn't  say  that  he  wanted  to  stuff  a  lot  of  facts  in  his  mind  so 
that  he  could  impress  a  teacher  or  be  one  up  on  the  other 
students  in  the  intellectual  game.  No.  But  if  he  had  an  existen- 
tial problem,  then  the  library  would  help  him  get  all  the 
information  that  could  be  brought  to  bear  on  that  problem. 
Needless  to  say,  this  plan  didn't  make  much  of  a  hit,  and  the 
doors  of  the  Harvard  Library  are  still  open.  You  can  still  get 
dangerous  narcotic  volumes  without  a  prescription  at  Harvard. 

Where  can  we  go? 

Answer  number  one  is  to  get  out  into  the  world,  go  to  where 
the  really  important  events,  the  events  that  you  think  are 
important,  are  happening  and  climb  into  them.  That,  by  the 
way,  is  how  all  the  great  advances  in  science  as  well  as  politics 
have  taken  place. 

Answer  number  two  to  the  question,  where  can  we  go,  is:  Go 
inside.  Go  into  your  own  brain;  start  using  the  untapped  region 
of  your  head.  Here,  my  friends,  is  the  real  frontier,  the  real 
challenge,  the  real  opportunity. 

Well,  how  do  we  do  that?  For  centuries,  for  thousands  of 
years,  men  have  been  studying  this  problem  of  how  to  expand 
their  own  consciousness,  how  to  get  into  their  own  brains.  One 
of  the  classic  methods  of  doing  it  is  the  simple  process  of 
meditation.  But  today  in  1963  this  method  seems  far  out.  You'd 
be  called  eccentric  if  you  said  to  an  American  that  it  would  be 
useful  for  him  to  spend  one  hour  a  day  alone— not  thinking  but 
just  turning  off  all  of  the  outside  stimulation  and  the  internal 
mental  machinery  and  seeing  where  that  will  take  him.  We 
have  to  remind  ourselves  that  meditation  has  been  the  classic 
psychological  technique  for  thousands  of  years  for  most  of  the 

American  Education  as  an  Addictive  Process  and  its  Cure         [  249 

human  race.  Every  one  of  our  great  visionaries,  every  one  of  the 
men  who  changed  the  course  of  human  history,  worked  it  out 
during  a  meditative  experience. 

Modem  psychology  calls  this  "turning  on"  by  the  fancy  name 
"sensory  deprivation."  A  few  years  ago  psychologists  discovered 
that  if  you  took  an  American  and  you  put  him  in  a  dark  room 
and  you  cut  off  all  the  sound  and  you  cut  off  all  the  light  and 
you  cut  off  all  tactile  stimulation,  in  other  words,  if  you  turned 
off  all  the  outside  games,  he  couldn't  keep  his  mind  going  and 
strange  things  would  take  place  in  his  consciousness  and  he 
would  begin  to  have  hallucinations,  revelations,  visions,  or  he'd 
get  in  a  panic  and  leap  out  of  the  room  and  shout  "Help!"  The 
reason  for  this  is  (and  now  we  are  getting  back  into  neuro- 
psychology) that  your  mind,  your  game-playing  verbal  mind, 
like  a  drug  habit,  requires  continual  stimulation.  You  have  to 
keep  feeding  it.  In  order  to  keep  up  the  pretense  that  you  are 
you  and  that  your  level  of  reality  is  really  reality,  you  have  to 
have  feedback  all  the  time.  You  have  to  have  people  around  you 
reminding  you  that  you  are  you;  you  have  to  have  people 
around  you  participating  in  the  same  immediate  realities,  shar- 
ing the  same  social  delusion,  to  keep  this  social  reality  going. 

Now  whenever  you  get  out  there,  away  from  the  social  and 
sensory  stimulation  (as  with  men  who  are  shipwrecked,  men 
who  are  lost  in  a  desert,  men  who  are  lost  in  the  snow,  men  who 
go  into  monasteries,  men  who  go  into  cells) ,  there  are  with- 
drawal symptoms.  The  people  panic  because  they  are  moving 
on  to  a  different  level  of  reality.  How  many  of  our  great 
visionaries,  our  great  history-making  decisions,  have  come  from 
men  who  have  gone  off  in  the  desert?  Jesus  Christ  went  off  in  a 
cave  in  the  mountain;  Mohammed  sat  alone  in  a  cave;  Buddha 
lived  in  solitude  for  many  years,  so  did  St.  John  of  the  Cross.  So 
have  most  of  our  other  great  visionaries.  The  problem  now  is 
that  it  is  getting  harder  to  let  these  physiological  events  happen. 
To  be  alone  in  order  to  look  within. 

Recently  our  technology,  which  has  done  so  much  to  narrow 
our  consciousness  and  to  produce  this  robotlike  conformity,  has 
turned  up  two  very  disturbing  processes  which  are  going  to 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  250 

cause  all  of  us  to  do  a  lot  of  serious  thinking  in  the  next  few 
years.  These  processes  are  electrical  stimulation  of  the  brain, 
and  the  new  drugs,  which  also  allow  for  increased  control  of 
consciousness,  either  by  you  or  by  someone  else.  The  next 
evolutionary  step  is  going  to  come  through  these  two  means, 
both  of  which  involve  greater  knowledge,  greater  control, 
greater  use  and  application  of  that  major  portion  of  our  brain 
which  we  now  do  not  use  and  of  which  we  are  only  dimly 

These  potentialities  and  these  promises  aren't  going  to  go 
away.  Your  head,  with  its  unused  neurons,  is  there.  Electrical 
stimulation  and  biochemical  expansion  of  the  neural  processes 
are  here,  too.  They  aren't  going  to  go  away  just  because  they 
upset  our  theories  of  psychology  or  our  new  words  of  education. 

In  1943,  a  most  dramatic  event  took  place  in  a  laboratory  in 
Switzerland  when  Dr.  Albert  Hoffman  accidentally  ingested  a 
tiny  amount  of  semisynthetic  ergot  fungus  known  as  LSD  25 
and  found  himself  thrown  onto  a  level  of  reality  which  he  had 
never  experienced  before.  This  had  probably  happened  to 
many  chemists  in  the  past  and  to  many  other  people  in  the  past. 
Hoffman  was  the  man  on  the  spot  who  was  able  to  understand 
what  was  going  on.  And  because  of  Albert  Hoffman  of  Sandoz 
Laboratory,  we  face  today  the  challenge  and  dilemma  of  con- 
sciousness-expanding drugs.  They  are  not  addictive  in  the  sense 
that  there  is  no  physiological  attachment  to  them.  I  must  point 
out  that  the  very  question  of  addiction  is  humorous  to  those  of 
us  that  feel  that  we  are  all  hopelessly  addicted  to  words  and  to 
our  tribal  games.  These  drugs  are  physiologically  safe.  Over  two 
thousand  studies  have  been  published,  and  as  of  1968  despite 
the  rumors  there  is  no  evidence  of  somatic  or  physical  side 
effects.  But  they  are  dangerous;  the  sociopolitical  dangers  are 
there.  We  have  incontrovertible  evidence  that  these  drugs  cause 
panic,  poor  judgment,  and  irrational  behavior  on  the  part  of 
some  college  deans,  psychiatrists  and  government  administrators 
who  have  not  taken  them. 

What  we  think  is  going  to  hapf>en  is  that  a  system  of  licensing 
and  training  will  be  developed,  very  similar  to  the  way  we  train 

American  Education  as  an  Addictive  Process  and  Its  Cure  [  251 

and  license  people  to  use  motorcars  and  airplanes.  People  have 
to  demonstrate  that  they  can  use  their  expanded  neural  ma- 
chinery without  hurting  themselves  and  without  danger  to  their 
fellow  men.  They  will  have  to  demonstrate  proficiency,  experi- 
ence, training,  and  then  we  feel  it  is  their  right  to  be  licensed. 
As  in  the  case  of  airplane  and  auto,  the  license  can  be  taken 
away  from  those  who  injure  themselves  or  injure  their  fellow 

There  are  many  new  by-products  of  this  research  in  con- 
sciousness expansion  and  these  studies.  First  of  all,  it  is  inevi- 
table that  a  new  language  will  develop  to  communicate  the  new 
aspect  of  experience.  The  language  of  words  we  now  use  is 
extremely  clumsy,  static,  and  heavy.  We  are  going  to  have  to 
develop,  as  chemistry  has  developed,  a  language  that  will  pay 
respect  to  the  fact  that  our  experience,  our  behavior,  our  social 
forms  are  flowing  all  the  time.  And  if  your  language  isn't 
equipped  to  change  and  flow  with  them,  then  you  are  in 
trouble,  you're  hooked.  You're  drugged  by  the  educational 
system.  There  are  going  to  be  new  values,  rest  assured,  based  on 
a  broader  range  of  reality.  Our  present  values,  based  on  certain 
ethnocentric  tribal  goals,  are  going  to  recede  in  importance 
after  we  see  where  man  really  belongs  in  the  biological  evolu- 
tionary process.  There  are  going  to  be  new  social  forms;  there 
are  going  to  be  new  methods  of  education. 

I'll  give  you  one  example  here.  In  the  last  few  months,  we 
have  been  studying  accelerated  learning  by  the  use  of  the 
expanded  consciousness.  It's  your  trained  mind,  you  remember, 
which  prevents  you  from  learning.  If  a  professor  of  linguistics 
who  doesn't  know  any  French  goes  to  France  with  his  five-year- 
old  son  and  they  both  spend  equal  time  with  the  French  people, 
who  is  going  to  learn  French  faster?  The  five-year-old  son  will 
quickly  outstrip  his  dad  even  with  that  Ph.D.  in  linguistics. 
Why?  Because  Dad  has  stuffed  his  mind  with  all  sorts  of  censor- 
ing and  filtering  concepts  that  prevent  him  from  grooving  with 
the  French  process.  The  psychedelic  experience  can  release 
these  learning  blocks.  We  took,  for  example,  a  brilliant  woman 
who  had  an  emotional  block  against  learning  language.  She 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  252 

wanted  to  learn  Spanish.  We  gave  her  a  very  heavy  dose  of  LSD, 
put  her  in  a  quiet  room  and  put  earphones  on  her,  and  for  eight 
hours  she  was  flooded  with  spoken  Spanish  from  records. 
Every  hour  or  so,  we  would  go  in  and  take  the  earphones  off  and 
say,  "How  are  you?"  She  answered  ecstatically  in  Spanish!  She 
had  been  wallowing  in  Spanish  for  a  thousand  years.  By  the 
sixth  or  seventh  hour,  she  was  repeating  back  the  Spanish  words 
with  the  right  enunciation,  the  dialectic  tempo  and  so  forth. 
The  problem  now  is  that  when  she  hears  Spanish  spoken,  she  is 
likely  to  go  into  another  level  of  consciousness,  to  get  suddenly 
very  high,  which  leads  to  other  interesting  possibilities  of  auto- 
conditioning.  All  of  us,  adults  and  students,  have  been  censored 
so  much,  the  filters  have  been  applied  for  so  long,  the  neuro- 
physiological  processes  are  so  firmly  set  that  if  we  want  to 
expand  our  consciousness,  we  are  probably  going  to  have  to  use 
chemical  means.  We  adults,  if  we  are  going  to  move  on  to 
different  levels  of  reality,  are  going  to  have  to  rely  on  some 
direct  means  of  this  sort.  We  have  high  hopes  for  the  next 
generation,  and  particularly  the  next  generation  after  that.  It  is 
the  goal  of  our  research  and  of  our  educational  experiments 
that  in  one  or  two  generations,  we  will  be  witnessing  the  ap- 
pearance of  human  beings  who  have  much  more  access,  without 
drugs,  to  a  much  greater  percentage  of  their  nervous  systems. 

So  there  you  have  it.  I'm  sure  that  a  few  or  none  of  you  will 
follow  the  advice  and  the  prophetic  warnings  that  I  have  been 
giving.  I  have  had  to  tell  you  with  words.  But  I'm  also  going  to 
take  my  own  advice.  I'm  dropping  out  of  the  university  and 
educational  setup.  I'm  breaking  the  habit.  I  hope  in  the  coming 
years  as  you  drift  into  somnambulance  that  some  of  you  will 
remember  our  meeting  this  morning  and  will  break  your  addic- 
tion to  the  system.  I'll  be  waiting  for  you. 

I  want  to  leave  one  final  warning.  There  will  be  many  people 
who  will  see  the  utility  of  the  electrical  and  chemical  techniques 
I  have  been  talking  about  and  will  want  to  use  them,  as  the 
Western,  scientific  mind  has  always  wanted  to  use  them,  for 
their  own  power  and  their  own  control.  Whenever  new  fron- 
tiers open  up,  you  have  the  new  problem  of  exploitation  and 

American  Education  as  an  Addictive  Process  and  Its  Cure         [  255 

selfish  use.  There  will  be  no  lack  of  people  who  will  be  de- 
lighted to  use  the  underdeveloped  areas  of  your  cortex.  We  have 
coined  the  term  "internal  freedom."  It  is  a  political,  didactic 
device;  we  want  to  warn  you  not  to  give  up  the  freedom  which 
you  may  not  even  know  you  have.  In  the  Seattle  paper  yester- 
day, in  one  of  the  columns,  I  read  a  very  interesting  item  to  the 
effect  that  the  Russians  were  developing  extrasensory-percep- 
tion techniques  and  studying  ways  which  can  eventually  control 
consciousness.  We  can  do  that,  of  course,  with  television  now.  If 
60  million  people  all  watch  one  program,  they  are  being  con- 
trolled. But  still  we  have  that  choice  of  turning  it  on  or  off.  The 
next  step,  and  I  warn  you  it  is  not  far  off,  involves  some  fellow 
using  electrical  implants  and  drugs  to  control  consciousness. 
Then,  dear  friends,  it  may  be  too  late.  We  won't  know  where 
the  buttons  are  to  turn  them  off.  The  open  access  to  these 
methods  is  the  key  to  internal  freedom.  If  we  know  what  we  are 
doing,  do  it  openly  and  collaboratively,  free  from  government 
control,  then  we  will  be  free  to  explore  the  tremendous  worlds 
which  lie  within. 



» # 

Soul  Session 

Sol:  As  a  former  professor  at  Harvard  University,  and  at  the 
time  before  the  experiments  with  hallucinogens  came  up,  a 
recognized  figure  in  the  field  of  psychology,  you  seem  to  have 
had  a  radical  about-face  when  you  started  talking  recently  about 
"drop  out,  turn  on,  and  tune  in."  Would  you  explain  to  us 
what  you  mean  by  this? 

Leary:  Well,  to  begin  with,  I  don't  think  I've  made  any 
radical  about-face.  My  use  of  the  psychedelic  chemicals  stems 
directly  from  my  endeavors  in  psychology.  I  have  found  better 
ways  of  understanding  man's  consciousness  leading  to  a  better 
control  of  his  inner  environment.  The  techniques  of  modern 
psychiatry  and  psychology  don't  do  this.  In  my  search  for  new 
methods,  I  was  led  to  the  study  of  the  drug. 

Sol:  From  being  a  member  ostensibly  of  the  academic  in- 
group,  you  seemed  to  have  evolved  an  "in"  beyond  that. 

Leary:  If  you  study  the  careers  of  men  that  are  the  central 
figures  in  our  culture,  and  I'm  not  saying  I  am  one,  but  I  model 
myself  after  them,  you  will  find  that  as  they  pursue  their  data 
they  get  further  and  further  removed  from  Main  Street  moral- 
ity and  from  the  dogmas  of  the  academy.  Anyone  who  takes  his 
work  seriously  has  to  expect  that  he  will  be  led  into  that 
frightening  and  insecure  area  on  the  fringe.  If  he  doesn't  want 
to  be  led  out  of  his  mind,  he  must  look  at  himself  in  the  mirror 

•  This  interview   was  conducted  by  Ken   Garrison,  editor  of  SOL   magazine. 
Valley  State  College,  California. 

[  254 

Soul  Session  [  255 

and  realize  that  he  is  not  a  true  scientist— he's  playing  the  game 
of  the  academy  and  academic  corrosion.  Far  from  being  uncon- 
ventional, I  see  my  unfolding  as  highly  orthodox  and  predict- 
able for  anyone  who  takes  truth  and  knowledge  seriously. 

Sol:  It  was  my  understanding  you  were  dismissed  from  Har- 
vard for  continuing  psychedelic  experiments  on  or  with  stu- 
dents there  at  the  college.  Would  you  explain  the  circumstances 
under  which  you  left? 

Leary:  One  cannot  ever  believe  what  you  hear  in  the  news- 
papers. I  was  not  fired  by  Harvard  for  giving  drugs  to  under- 
graduates. I  never  gave  drugs  to  any  undergraduate  at  Harvard. 
I  had  been  offered  tenure  from  Harvard  twice  under  the  condi- 
tion that  I  stop  doing  research  or  tone  down  the  research  of 
LSD.  I  refused  to  do  this.  I  didn't  want  to  be  a  professor  at 
Harvard,  I  wanted  to  find  out  where  it's  at  and  what's  what,  and 
you  usually  can't  always  do  that  at  a  university. 

Sol:  Were  you  simply  not  granted  tenure,  and  therefore  you 
had  to  leave  the  college?  We  have  a  very  similar  circumstance  at 
Valley  State.  An  instructor  has  been  there  past  the  time  that  you 
either  have  to  be  granted  tenure  or  you  have  to  leave.  Is  that—? 

Leary:  No,  the  technicality  on  which  I  was  fired  with  only 
two  months  to  go  on  my  salary,  on  my  contract,  was  because  I 
was  absent  from  classes. 

Sol:  If  you  had  the  opportunity  to— 

Leary:  I  was  absent  from  all  my  classes  because  they  had 
taken  all  my  classes  away  from  me.  [Laughter]  So  I  left,  and 
they  knew  I  was  leaving. 

Sol:  If  you  had  the  opportunity  to  practice  the  psychedelic 
research  which  you  are  engaged  in  now,  would  you  accept  a 
position  at  an  American  college  or  university? 

Leary:  Absolutely  not.  I  consider  American  education  to  be 
a  highly  dangerous,  addictive,  contracting  process.  I'm  quite 
serious  about  this,  and  I  urge  all  students  at  every  level  of 
education  to  drop  out.  You're  going  to  learn  very  little  of  value 
and  meaning  in  high  school  and  college,  and  your  mind  is  going 
to  be  trapped  and  hooked.  We  are  urging  young  people  to  drop 
out  of  the  very  new  and  radical  institution  of  American  educa- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  256 

tion  and  find  a  teacher,  a  tutor,  and  you  learn  what  is  appropri- 
ate and  relevant. 

Sol:  In  other  words,  i£  I  interpret  you  correctly,  you  are 
proposing  for  the  millions  of  students  and  young  people  a 
system  of  individual,  small-clan  tutor-learner  situations,  and 
that  you  propose,  as  far  as  learning  processes  go,  that  this  is  the 
form,  or  rather  this  is  the  lack  of  form  it  should  have? 

Leary:  Yes,  but  let's  not  take  any  statement  I  make  out  of 
context.  Obviously,  when  I  say  the  kid  shouldn't  go  to  school, 
I'm  implying  changes  in  the  broader  social  fabric  of  our  country 
which  we  foresee  coming.  What  we  have  in  the  United  States 
today  is  a  typical  centralization  and  urbanization  which  hap- 
pened in  Rome,  which  happened  in  Constantinople,  which  has 
happened  throughout  human  history,  in  which  enormous 
masses  of  people  crowd  together  in  the  anonymous  robotlike 
anthill  of  city  life.  Now,  if  you  want  to  be  an  IBM  computer 
robot  or  a  bit  actor  in  the  American  television  studio  of  Ameri- 
can society,  go  to  school  and  they'll  teach  you  all  the  little  rules 
of  rote  behavior  that'll  get  you  right  out  in  the  TV  studio.  If 
you  want  to  be  a  machine,  go  to  college.  But  we  are  anticipating 
and  predicting  a  change  in  our  society.  There  is  going  to  be  a 
return  to  the  basic  human  unit  which  is  the  clan  or  the  cult,  or 
the  tribe.  What  I'm  predicting  and  urging  is  the  most  orthodox 
American  model.  We  try  to  become  self-sufficient  rather  than 
depend  on  government  paychecks  and  Social  Security. 

Sol:  You  talk  about  the  nonlearning  situation  in  our  schools. 
How  do  you  apply  this  to  the  advanced  sciences  such  as  medi- 
cine, neurological  surgery— some  of  these  things  which  are  tre- 
mendously intricate  and  tremendously  advanced,  at  least  from 
the  point  of  view  of  the  typical  medical  scientist? 

Leary:  Which  requires  training— 

Sol:  Right,  which  requires,  in  fact,  maybe  a  systemized, 
formalized  training  institution. 

Leary:  No,  no.  I  don't  go  along  with  that  at  all.  It  is  true 
that  more  and  more  of  the  professions  require  long,  disciplined 
periods  of  training.  I'm  not  advocating  the  return  to  some 
romantic  life  of  savagery.   We  can't  do  away  with  modern 

Soul  Session  [  257 

science.  It's  here  to  stay,  and  it's  going  to  continue  to  develop. 
I'm  simply  against  the  mass  impersonal  granting  of  thousands  of 
Ph.D.'s  in  physics  to  men  who  never  really  experienced  energy 
inside  their  own  body,  but  simply  memorize  canned  equations. 
Such  anthill  mentalities,  no  matter  how  clever  they  are  at 
engineering,  are  going  to  develop  bombs  or  faster  and  faster 
robot  vehicles  and  are  going  to  take  man  further  and  further 
away  from  his  ultimate  being,  his  living,  organic  nature. 
Knowledge  doesn't  depend  upon  these  huge  public-supported 
mind  machines  that  we  now  call  universities.  In  particular,  the 
State  of  California  is  much  more  susceptible  to  this  type  of 
impersonal  "learning"  factory. 

Sol:  Now  we've  covered  the  drop-out  phase  of  your  slogan— 

Leary:  I'd  like  to  say  more  about  the  drop-out.  People  think 
when  we  say  drop-out,  we  mean  become  just  a  lazy,  idle  person; 
just  take  LSD  and  contemplate  the  beauty  of  your  navel.  The 
facts  are  that  dropping  out  is  hard  work;  dropping  out  requires 
courage;  dropping  out  releases  your  energy  so  that  you  turn  on 
and  release  energies.  What  are  you  going  to  do  with  these 
energies?  Are  you  going  to  go  back  to  Valley  State  College  and 
learn  how  to  be  a  Ph.D.  robot?  You  drop  out  of  the  fake- 
television  American  game  to  find  a  way  of  harnessing  the 
energies  you  are  releasing.  The  people  here  at  Millbrook  are 
full  of  energy,  as  you  have  noticed  as  you  move  around  the 
house.  They're  extremely  healthy  and  they're  very  hard- 
working. It  takes  a  considerable  amount  of  energy  to  convert  a 
sort  of  jungle  like  this  place  to  a  place  of  harmony  and  beauty. 
You  drop  out  to  free  your  energies  for  high-level  functioning. 
By  drop  out,  we  don't  mean  fall  out;  if  you  want  to  fall  out,  be  a 
nice  conforming  robot  and  stay  in  college,  and  you  just  drift 
along  the  addictive  path  of  middle-class  success— that's  the  easy 

Sol:  Would  you  care  to  comment  upon  the  "turn  on*'  phase 
of  your  slogan? 

Leary:  Well,  it's  been  known  for  thousands  of  years  that  man 
can  change  consciousness  and  the  levels  of  energy  and  wisdom 
inside,  or  what  is  sometimes  called  revelation— that  is,  direct 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  258 

personal  experience.  In  every  culture  there  have  been  men  who 
have  studied  consciousness.  They  have  been  called  shamans  or 
gurus  or  alchemists.  These  men  have  studied  the  science  of 
expanding  consciousness.  Most  people  don't  realize  that  con- 
sciousness expansion  is  as  equally  complex  a  problem  as  the 
study  of  physics,  because  the  nervous  system  and  the  levels  of 
consciousness  available  to  man  are  infinite  in  their  complexities. 
And  the  techniques  and  methods  of  turning  on  and  controlling 
the  flow  and  energies  of  awareness  and  of  mapping  where  you 
have  gone  and  of  helping  others  to  make  these  explorations  is 
very  similar  to  the  use  of  the  microscope,  because  the  micro- 
scope turns  you  on  to  levels  of  energy  which  are  invisible  to  the 
naked  eye.  Turning  on  requires  a  change  in  the  physiology  of 
the  human  body.  You  can't  turn  yourself  on  with  your  mind; 
you  can't  turn  yourself  on  with  work.  You  have  to  have  some- 
thing to  bring  about  the  biochemical  change;  it's  called  a 
sacrament.  Today  we  turn  on  with  chemicals  because  we  live  in 
a  chemical  society.  In  10  or  15  years,  chemicals  such  as  LSD  will 
be  outmoded.  We  will  be  using  electronic  and  electrical  meth- 
ods of  expanding  consciousness  because  like  it  or  not,  conscious- 
ness is  a  biochemical  electrical  network,  and  the  way  to  trigger 
this  off  and  use  it  to  its  fullest  extent  is  through  chemical 
electrical  technique. 

Sol:  Would  you  care  to  .  .  .  You  mentioned  that  through 
thousands  of  years,  man  has  sought  ways  to  turn  on.  What 
various  ways  have  there  been  other  than  the  current  LSD 
method?  I  think  we're  all  familiar  with  peyote. 

Leary:  Well,  we  mustn't  just  think  of  LSD.  There  are  80- 
some  known  substances  in  the  United  States  today  that  can  give 
you  the  psychedelic  effect.  There  are  new  chemicals  that  are 
being  developed  in  our  alchemy  laboratories  each  month.  I 
heard  recently  of  32  new  compounds  which  are  ready  to  be 
released  when  it  is  appropriate  to  do  so.  All  these  are  legal,  and 
they  don't  even  exist  in  any  of  the  statutes;  they  don't  even  exist 
in  the  patent  office.  But  in  addition  to  the  chemical  means  of 
turning  on,  there  are  many  nondrug  methods  which  all  eventu- 
ally involve  the  way  the  dervishes  do  in  the  Middle  East. 

Soul  Session  [  259 

Sol:  Do  you  feel  that  in  this  same  interpretation  or  same 
meaning,  the  dances  that  teen-agers  do  today  and  for  the  past 
several  thousand  years  are  a  form  of  turning  on  and  are  not 
viewed  in  this  perspective? 

Leary:  Well,  the  dance  was  originally  a  psychedelic  way  of 
expressing  one's  self,  a  way  of  getting  high.  Unfortunately,  most 
of  these  early  sacramental  methods  get  worn  out  and  routinized 
so  that  the  Catholic  goes  to  mass  today,  follows  through  a  series 
of  routine  steps,  failing  to  realize  that  the  Catholic  mass  is  an 
incredibly  powerful  psychedelic  trip,  involving  transubstantia- 
tion  of  energy,  involving  a  death-birth  sequence,  and  using  all 
sorts  of  sensory  techniques:  incense,  genuflection,  posture,  and 
so  forth. 

Sol:  Do  you  feel  that  there  is  a  potential  religion  in  the 

Leary:  I  think  most  of  the  dances  that  Americans  do  today 
don't  get  them  high.  They  tend  to  be  stylized  fads:  the  monkey, 
the  slop,  the  twist,  the  watusi,  and  so  forth.  We  are  trying  to  get 
young  people  to  develop  dances  which  are  spiritual.  We  have 
Bali  Ram,  the  great  Indian  dancer,  living  here.  He's  teaching  us 
how  body  movements  can  get  you  grooving  with  your  internal 
energies  instead  of  doing  the  mash  potato  and  the  whip.  The 
movements  can  be  in  tune  with  your  ancient  cellular-mythic 
patterns,  and  the  dance  itself  can  be  a  wild  ecstatic  turn-on 
spiritual  event. 

Sol:  "Tune  in"  is  the  last  part  of  the  slogan  which  you  have, 
and  by  this  do  you  mean  more  than  just  the  turning  on  ...  do 
you  intend  direction? 

Leary:  Yes,  "tune  in"  means  you  take  the  energies  you 
release  when  you  turn  on  and  you  come  back  to  the  world  and 
you  tune  these  energies  in,  you  harness  them,  you  express  your 
reactions,  reverie,  and  revelations  in  works  of  beauty.  The 
tuning-in  process  is  dropping  back  in  and  changing  your  life, 
changing  the  way  you  dress,  changing  the  way  you  look,  chang- 
ing the  place  where  you  live,  changing  the  sequence  of  your 
activities.  So  that  increasingly,  every  act  becomes  sanctified.  All 
actions  are  part  of  a  sacred  sequence— eating,  making  a  living— 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  260 

instead  of  being  robot  work  all  these  activities  should  be  tuned 
in.  .  .  .Hello. 

Little  Girl:  Hello.  Are  you  taping? 

Leary:  Yes,  I'm  making  a  tape. 

Little  Girl:  Oh.  Is  anything  going  to  come  on? 

Leary:  No,  we're  not  listening;  we're  talking,  we're  making 
the  tape.  Then  we'll  listen  to  it  later,  and  we'll  laugh  at  our- 
selves. How  wise  and  pompous  and  smug  we  are. 

Little  Girl:  I  wanna  say  something  in  that. 

Leary:  All  right,  why  don't  you  say  something? 

Little  Girl:  Hello,  Timothy! 

Leary:  Hello,  Kathy. 

Little  Girl:  I  love  you,  Timothy!  I 

Leary:  I  love  you,  Kathy. 

Sol:  The  tune-in  phase  of  the  slogan  of  the  key  or  guide,  I 
think,  is  something  that  is  probably  misunderstood  by  most 
people.  It's  the  idea  that  the  person  who  goes  on  a  psychedelic 
kick  is  dropping  into  an  unstructured,  unmoving,  valueless 
state  of  affairs  from  which  there  will  be  no  continuation  of 
human  progress  or  human  development.  Would  you  explain 
how  you  would  counter  these  charges? 

Leary:  Yes,  because  the  average  American  thinks  that  taking 
a  drug  makes  you  drunk.  The  average  American  thinks  of 
getting  high  as  going  to  a  cocktail  party  because  booze  is  our 
national  sacrament.  Now  alcohol  is  a  "down"  experience.  It 
narrows  consciousness  and  makes  you  rather  sloppy,  a  rather 
messy  person  in  thought  and  action.  The  psychedelic  drugs  will 
take  you  in  the  opposite  direction.  They  bring  you  into  levels  of 
reality  which  aren't  structured  because  your  mind  can't  struc- 
ture them.  But  the  panoramas  and  the  levels  that  you  get  into 
with  LSD  are  exactly  those  areas  which  men  have  called  the 
confrontation  of  God.  The  LSD  trip  is  the  classic  visionary- 
mystic  voyage.  I  warn  everyone  not  to  take  LSD  unless  they're 
prepared  to  have  all  their  certainties  and  social  securities  shat- 
tered. You  can't  take  LSD  and  come  back  to  the  television 
studios  at  San  Fernando  Valley  State  College  and  play  that  out 
with  the  same  enthusiasm.  You  just  can't  pick  up  your  robot 

Soul  Session  [  261 

role  again.  This  means  that  psychedelic  people  act  diflferently 
for  the  most  part  when  they  come  back.  But  they  act;  they're 
not  just  sitting  around  passively.  In  the  last  6  or  7  years  a  small 
group  of  us,  which  has  grown  with  almost  miraculous  rapidity, 
has  brought  about  a  change  in  the  consciousness  of  the  United 
States.  Now  we've  done  this  through  action  and  through  effec- 
tive action  and  through  tuned-in  action.  Lazy,  confused,  disor- 
ganized people  don't  bring  about  this  sort  of  revolution  in 
consciousness  that  we've  brought  about  in  this  country.  How- 
ever, the  sort  of  action  we  recommend  throws  terror  into  the 
hearts  of  the  people  who  direct  the  television  studio  in  Sacra- 
mento or  in  Washington  or  in  the  administration  offices  of  San 
Fernando  Valley  State  College.  Because  the  kids  that  come  back 
from  these  trips  just  won't  buy  the  middle-aged  menopausal 
mind  system. 

Sol:  Would  you  care  to  elaborate  on  the  phrase  "menopausal 

Leary:  Yes.  I  say  there's  one  word  which  explains  politics, 
economics  and  social  conflict  today.  It's  not  "left"  or  "right"— 
it's  "age."  The  men  who  are  running  your  college  and  your 
state  and  your  government  had  their  minds  frozen  somewhere 
between  1914  and  1920.  That's  when  their  vision  of  God  and 
the  world  was  formed,  and  baby,  they're  not  going  to  change  it. 
It's  frozen  in  a  World  War  I-Depression  mentality,  and  we  are 
now  in  a  social  process  that  is  a  thousand  years  beyond  what 
they  knew  in  high  school  and  college.  If  you  study  the  political 
events  of  the  last  two  elections,  you'll  see  that  this  age  variable 
predicted  some  of  the  election  surprises.  Whenever  you  had  a 
young,  virile  man  whose  eyes  looked  alive  and  looked  as  though 
he  was  carrying  seed  and  who  looked  as  though  he  could  make 
love,  he  almost  invariably  defeated  the  older  candidate  regard- 
less of  how  liberal  the  older  candidate's  words  might  have 
sounded.  I  think  we  have  an  ominous  situation  in  the  United 
States  today  because  of  this  menopausal  mentality.  The  reason 
we  have  this  insane  political  setup  in  the  world  today  is  because 
of  these  impotent  and  senile  duffers,  Mao  in  China,  De  Gaulle 
in  France,  Johnson  here,  playing  out  their  visions  of  40,  50,  and 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  262 

60  years  ago  and  very  eager  to  send  young,  seed-carrying  men  to 
carry  out  their  chess  games  of  status  and  prestige.  If  everyone 
just  took  six  months  or  one  year  and  just  dropped  out,  the 
creaky  menopausal  structure  of  the  American  power  will  just 
slowly  crumble.  I  think  every  teen-age  and  college  kid  should  go 
home  and  turn  on  their  mother  and  father.  "Come,  Father,  take 
off  your  shoes,  feel  the  sand  in  your  feet.  Come  on.  Grandma, 
and  light  up,  enjoy  the  beauties  of  nature  around  you." 

Sol:  By  "turn  on,"  did  you  mean  psychedelically  turn  on  or 
enlighten  otherwise? 

Leary:  Turn  them  on  in  any  way  that  you  can.  To  turn  on 
means  to  come  to  your  senses.  Older  people  start  losing  the 
internal  power;  they  lose  that  connection  of  the  2-million-year 
thread  of  life  and  they  get  frightened  and  they  want  to  have 
metal  around  them.  The  grandmother  wants  to  have  a  metal 
kitchen,  she  wants  to  have  a  metal  car,  she  wants  to  have  steel 
around  the  country.  This  is  a  psychology  of  fear,  fear  of  death 
and  the  fear  of  the  loss  of  vigor.  The  kids  should  go  home  and 
turn  on  their  parents  by  bringing  her  flowers  and  by  bringing 
them  music  and  by  urging  them  to  enjoy  life.  I  think,  for  in- 
stance, that  Johnson  should  go  down  and  lie  in  the  sun  with 
Adam  Clayton  Powell,  and  he  should  come  back  to  his  senses 
and  learn  how  to  make  love  again.  People  who  are  carrying  seed 
are  concerned  with  the  perpetuation  of  seed.  It  isn't  conceivable 
to  me  that  a  young  man  or  woman  of  twenty-five  would  do 
anything  to  blow  up  this  planet.  Though  the  men  of  fifty  or 
sixty  who  are  only  going  to  be  around  for  10  or  15  years,  sure, 
why,  they  would  gladly  blow  the  thing  up  for  some  concept  of 
status  and  prestige. 

Sol:  Why  then,  from  the  way  you  talk,  I  think  we  have 
jumped  over  some  previous  and  necessary  philosophical  ana- 
lyzation.  What,  to  you,  is  the  most  basic,  important,  and  essen- 
tial point  of  life?  I  assume  from  the  way  you  speak  that  it  is  the 
carrying  of  the  seed,  the  regeneration  of  life  itself  through  life 
and  that  this  should  be  the  central  focal  point  of  our  lives, 
instead  of  such  things  as  power,  national  honor  and  things  of 
this  sort.  What  should  be  the  centering  element  of  the  energy 

Soul  Session  [  263 

Leary:  Well,  youVe  given  me  the  answer  to  the  question. 
Centering  and  harmony  is  the  seed  concept  of  all  energy  and  of 
all  life.  Tolkien  said  in  his  wonderful  trilogy  The  Fellowship  of 
the  Ring,  where  you  had  the  forces  of  metal,  fire  and  power 
opposed  to  the  people  who  want  to  live  in  harmony  with  nature 
and  to  live  free.  Freedom  and  harmony  are  the  keys  to  our 
religion  and  to  the  political  movement  to  where  it  evolved  in 
the  United  States  today.  Freedom  to  find  your  own  inner 
potentiality  and  to  develop  it  without  coercion  from  an  ex- 
ternal centralized  authoritarian  political  entity.  To  get  back  in 
harmony  with  your  own  body  and  with  life  around  you.  Mod- 
ern American  man  is  completely  out  of  rhythm  with  nature;  he 
is  out  of  rhythm  with  the  seasons;  he  is  out  of  rhythm  with  the 
planets;  he  is  out  of  rhythm  with  the  soil.  In  the  political 
situation  there  is  going  to  be,  in  my  opinion,  a  spiritual  re- 
generation which  is  going  to  be  brought  about  by  turning  on 
yourself  and  finding  the  basic  rhythm  inside  and  then  turning  it 
back  in. 

Sol:  I  would  like  to  talk  for  a  second  about  the  alleged 
harmful  eJBEects  of  LSD  to  people  biologically,  physiologically 
and  also  some  of  the  purported  good  effects  it  can  have  upon 
people.  Do  you  care,  first  of  all,  to  explain  some  of  the  good 
effects  that  you  think  it  has  had  socially  or  that  it  can  have 

Leary:  You  seem  to  equate  good  with  social  good.  We  feel 
you  can't  do  good  unless  you  feel  good.  You  can't  have  a  good 
society  unless  you  have  individuals  who  are  turned  on  and  are 
tuning  in. 

Sol:  The  specific  answer  to  which  I  was  pointing  to  earlier 
was,  is  there  any  indication  that  persons  who  are  or  have  been 
narcotic  have  been  helped  out  of  their  addiction  with  LSD? 

Leary:  I  can  introduce  you  to  five  of  them  right  on  this 
property,  today. 

Sol:  Is  there  or  has  there  been  any  indication  that  persons 
who  have  had  sexual  hang-ups  such  as  homosexuality,  or  mono- 
sexuality,  if  you  would,  can  be  helped  out  of  this  hang-up 
through  LSD? 

Leary:  Yes,  there  have  been  many  studies  which  have  sup- 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  264 

ported  this  that  we  know  to  be  true  personally.  The  psychedelic 
experience  can  help  a  person  get  back  into  a  harmonious  sexual 
activity.  Homosexuality,  for  the  most  part,  is  a  psychological  or 
learned  distortion.  Since  man  is  basically  the  seed-carrying 
male,  he'll  realize  that  he's  been  designed  by  the  genetic  code  to 
act  as  the  man  and  to  pass  on  seed  in  the  male  way,  so  LSD  may 
act  as  a  specific  aid  to  homosexuality.  But  only  if  the  homo- 
sexual wants  to  change;  there  is  no  panacea  here. 

Sol:  You  feel  that  there  is  needed  research  in  this  area?  Or  to 
your  knowledge,  is  there  any  research  being  carried  on  in  this 

Leary:  Let  me  say  something  about  research.  The  term 
research  is  the  biggest  sacred  cow  we  got  going  in  our  country 
today.  It  is  99  percent  phony.  Any  time  you  hear  someone  say 
he  is  going  to  do  research,  watch  out  because  he  is  likely  to  be 
intruding  upon  your  privacy  for  his  own  profit.  We  have  no 
interest  in  doing  research  on  LSD.  Doing  research  on  conscious- 
ness is  very  much  like  doing  research  on  sex.  Occasionally  some 
psychiatrist  wants  to  hook  up  a  couple  that  he  can  persuade  to 
perform  sexual  activities  in  the  laboratory  to  study  heart  palpi- 
tations and  temperature  during  lovemaking.  If  people  want  to 
do  that,  it  is  all  right.  But  you  know  and  I  know  that  research 
on  sex  has  to  be  done  by  you  yourself.  One  of  the  problems  of 
LSD  in  the  United  States  today  is  that  psychiatrists  have  tried  to 
do  research  on  LSD  and  have  gotten  nowhere,  or  they  simply 
haven't  had  the  experience  themselves.  Their  interpretation 
and  explanation  of  the  LSD  effect  is  exactly  the  interpretation 
of  someone  who  hasn't  had  any  sexual  experience.  Suppose 
some  psychiatrist  who  had  never  had  any  sexual  experience 
were  to  get  a  couple,  and  he  would  hook  them  up  with  ta- 
chometers and  blood-pressure  instruments  and  EKG  and  give 
them  psychological  tests  during  intercourse,  and  you  see  what  a 
picture  he  paints!  "Why,  the  simple  task  of  performing  multi- 
plication and  division  is  lost  during  sexual  intercourse! 
[Laughter']  Blood  pressure  goes  up!  .  .  .  You  froth  at  the 
mouth!  .  .  .  You  utter  strange  animal  cries!  .  .  .  Why, 
they're    hardly    civilized    human    beings!  .  .  .  They    thrash 

Soul  Session  [  265 

around  and  knock  vases  off  the  tables!  .  .  .  They  wouldn't  talk 
to  you  in  a  sensible  way!  .  .  .  They  wouldn't  talk  about  ra- 
tional things  like  Nixon  versus  Reagan!  Clearly  this  is  a 
dangerous,  convulsive  type  of  experience,  both  psychologically 
and  socially,  which  should  be  banned!"  There  have  been  plenty 
who  would  say  exactly  that  about  the  sexual  experience.  If  you 
give  LSD  to  someone  and  he  sits  there  quietly  and  won't  talk  to 
you  for  three  hours,  you  say,  "Oh,  he's  in  a  catatonic  stupor," 
but  then  you  talk  to  him  later,  and  he  says,  "Stupor?  No,  I  was 
flipping  through  revelations  and  delights  of  ecstasy.  I  was  more 
alive  than  I'd  ever  been  in  my  life."  We're  very  much  against 
the  taboo  of  sacred  cow  research.  You've  got  to  do  the  research 
on  your  own  consciousness.  YOU've  got  to  do  the  research  on 
your  own  intimate  way  of  life.  No  Big  Brother  daddy  with  an 
M.D.  or  Ph.D.  can  do  these  things  for  you.  It's  this  Western 
engineering  technological  notion  that  people  can  do  things  for 
other  people  with  forms  of  energy. 

Sol:  What  about  the  rumors  of  chromosomal  disorders  that 
have  popped  up  lately? 

Leary:  Well,  now  we'll  get  to  your  second  question  that  has 
to  deal  with  the  dangers,  but  let  me  say  one  thing  about  the 
benefits  of  LSD.  LSD  is  a  key  to  releasing  energy.  Like  any  form 
of  energy,  it  can  be  misused  in  the  hands  of  the  reckless  or  in 
the  hands  of  the  foolish,  or  in  the  hands  of  people  who  want  to 
exploit  for  their  own  power  motives.  The  real  misuse  of  LSD  is 
when  it's  in  the  hands  of  someone  who  would  do  it  to  someone 
else.  The  only  control  of  LSD  is  self-control.  The  only  benefits 
of  LSD  are  the  benefits  you  are  willing  to  discipline  yourself  to 
get.  You  get  from  an  LSD  experience  only  what  you  bring  to  it 
and  what  you're  ready  to  take  away  from  it.  There's  a  real 
panacea  here.  The  benefits  of  LSD  get  you  involved  in  the  most 
difficult,  disciplined  yoga  of  all,  'cause  you're  learning  how  to  use 
your  head  and  learning  how  to  use  your  body.  Now  the  harms 
and  dangers  of  LSD  are  mainly  its  danger  to  society.  There's  no 
evidence  yet  that  LSD  brings  about  any  physiological  damage. 
There's  no  evidence  yet  that  LSD  has  any  effect  upon  the  brain 
itself  in  a  deleterious  way.  Now  it  may,  in  the  future,  turn  out  to 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  266 

have  effects  we  don't  understand  yet.  Anyone  who  takes  LSD  is 
gambling;  it's  a  risk.  Of  course,  everything  in  our  society  is  a 
risk.  Putting  your  nervous  system  in  front  of  a  television  tube 
and  being  battered  by  all  those  radiations  may  bring  about 
changes  that  we  don't  understand.  Now  as  far  as  the  chromo- 
somal or  genetic  changes  brought  about  by  LSD,  there  was  one 
research  done  at  Buffalo  which  was  a  straight  out-and-out  hoax, 
and  subsequent  studies  of  this  sort  will  demonstrate  that  this 
was  a  political  piece  of  research  designed  admittedly  before  the 
research  was  done  to  prove  that  it  was  dangerous.  It  was  done  by 
a  man  named  Cohen.  These  studies  were  in  vetro— that  means 
cells  that  were  in  tubes,  not  in  the  living  organism.  Changes  in 
those  cells  could  be  brought  about  by  any  number  of  substances 
in  the  heavy  dosages  they  were  using,  and  it  tells  nothing  about 
any  changes.  There's  no  evidence  from  these  anthropological 
sources  or  from  the  clinical  data  provided  by  the  hundreds  of 
LSD  babies  that  are  being  born  each  year  that  would  suggest 
danger.  .  .  .  There  are  LSD  babies  right  around  this  house. 
They  were  conceived  under  LSD  and  born  during  LSD  ex- 

Sol:  You  were  saying  that  through  thousands  of  years  of 
usage  there  is  no  evidence  that  hallucinogens  have  affected  our 
evolutionary  code? 

Leary:  No,  there  are  specific  tribes  in  Mexico,  the  Maztec 
tribe,  which  uses  psilocybin,  and  I  know  of  no  evidence  that  any 
harmful  mutations  have  taken  place. 

Sol:  What  form  of—? 

Leary:  On  the  other  hand,  I  want  to  make  it  clear  that  I'm 
not  saying  anything  positive  about  LSD.  I'm  not  saying  in  this 
interview  that  anyone  automatically  benefits  from  LSD,  and 
serious  questions  are  raised  in  our  minds  all  the  time  about  the 
use  of  LSD.  How  much  energy  and  neurological  revelation  can 
the  frenzied  human  mind  tolerate  without  flipping  out?  LSD 
possibly  shouldn't  be  used  in  the  widespread  way  in  which  it  is. 
We  seriously  concern  ourselves  about  such  questions.  But  we  do 
object  to  pseudoscientific  statements  from  psychiatrists  and  pub- 
lic health  officials  which  breed  fear  and  panic  in  the  American 

Soul  Session  [  267 

people  about  scientific  questions  that  won't  be  answered  for 

Sol:  What  form  of  society  do  you  envision  50  years  from 

Leary:  We  have  worked  out  very  detailed  blueprints,  prophe- 
cies and  predictions  as  to  what  we  think  will  happen  in  the  next 
50,  the  next  100,  even  the  next  500  years.  But  I  hesitate  to 
attempt  to  spell  this  out  now  because  it  sounds  too  farfetched;  it 
would  sound  like  science  fiction,  speculation.  The  profession  of 
the  prophet,  and  anyone  who  takes  LSD  is  likely  to  be  thrown 
into  this  profession,  is  a  very  risky  one  because  we  see  things 
that  can  happen,  and  we  have  to  be  careful  how  much  informa- 
tion we  feed  back  to  our  primitive  social  system  before  they 
think  we  are  nuts,  before  they  blame  us  for  what  is  inevitably 
going  to  happen.  We  predicted  6  years  ago  that  there  was  going 
to  be  a  psychedelic  revolution;  now  they  listen  to  us.  We  went 
to  Washington  and  told  the  FDA  that  this  was  going  to  happen. 

Now,  when  it  happened,  when  millions  of  kids  started  turning 
on,  Caesar  and  his  bureaucrats  blamed  us  for  the  psychedelic 
inundation.  But  to  go  back  to  your  question,  with  all  these 
preliminary  qualifications,  man  is  going  to  get  back  in  harmony 
with  his  body,  with  fellow  man,  and  with  other  forms  of  life  on 
this  planet.  Man  is  going  to  realize  that  consciousness  is  the  key 
to  human  life,  and  instead  of  power  struggles  over  territory  and 
possession  of  weapons,  the  focus  of  man's  energies  is  going  to  be 
on  consciousness.  Pierre  Teilhard  de  Chardin,  the  great  Jesuit 
philosopher,  has  spelled  out  the  psychedelic  vision  in  which  the 
world  will  become  unified  in  one  field  of  consciousness.  This 
will  happen  through  the  mass  media  in  the  hands  of  indi- 
viduals, not  networks.  It  will  also  happen  through  the  psyche- 
delic experience.  The  differences  which  cause  conflicts  among 
men  and  between  man  and  other  forms  of  nature  are  going  to 
be  brought  back  in  harmony.  All  metal,  concrete,  electricity 
and  atomic  energy  is  going  to  go  underground.  Man  is  going  to 
realize  that  his  precarious  hold  on  this  strange  planet  depends 
upon  a  thin  film  of  about  10  inches  of  topsoil,  and  it's  a  very 
delicate  balance  of  energies  of  cellular  and  different  species  that 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  268 

keeps  his  delicate  web  of  life  going.  Every  time  man  takes  metal 
or  stone  from  under  the  ground  and  puts  it  in  sheets  over  the 
delicate,  sensitive  skin  of  the  planet,  he  is  killing  and  disrupting 
this  net.  So  you  will  find  all  technology  underground.  The  city 
of  New  York  200  years  from  now  will  look  as  it  did  200  years 
ago.  The  air  will  recapture  the  life-giving  balance  it  is  supposed 
to  have.  The  rivers  and  waters  will  not  be  polluted.  Man  is 
going  to  tidy  up  the  mess  he's  made  in  this  very  recent  techno- 
logical fling.  Man  has  just  been  intoxicated  by  machines  for  200 
years.  He  is  going  to  come  off  it  and  sober  up.  Man  is  also  going 
to  discover  that  machines  are  no  fun.  That  fun  comes  from  the 
senses  and  from  your  body  and  from  human  interaction  and 
consciousness.  Everything  is  centered  on  consciousness,  and  no 
amount  of  steel  and  metal  and  apparatus  is  going  to  give  one 
second  of  real  ecstasy  or  real  communion. 

Sol:  Where  will  the  people  live  when  this  type  of  a  parklike 
atmosphere  or  a  natural  state  has  returned  to  the  earth? 

Leary:  People  will  live  some  of  the  time  under  the  ground 
and  some  of  the  time  above  the  ground  in  buildings  which  will 
be  harmonized  with  the  soil  and  plant  life  around  them.  Now 
this  will  sound  like  science  fiction  or  fantasy,  but  actually  we  are 
doing  this  at  Millbrook,  and  if  you  look  around  at  this  property 
you  will  see  an  embryonic  stage  of  these  wild  predictions  going 
on.  We  even  have  soil  on  the  roof  to  symbolize  to  us  that  this  is 
a  cave  we  live  in,  this  house.  And  you  will  find  if  you  go  out 
into  the  woods  today,  members  of  our  community  building  little 
cottages  and  tepees,  who  want  to  live  out  in  the  woods  this 
summer.  You  will  see  in  our  meditation  gardens  and  in  our 
daily  activities  here  a  slow  cellular  development  toward  this 
Utopia  which  I  have  been  describing.  We  think  that  our  proph- 
ecies and  our  scientific  fantasies  are  more  likely  to  come  true 
than  any  others  because  if  you  listen  to  the  government- 
supported  scientific  agencies,  they  are  just  predicting  to  the 
next  antimissile  missile.  Most  of  your  politicians  are  just  inter- 
ested in  predicting  to  the  next  election.  They  are  interested  in 
the  next  intersection  of  power  where  their  status  is  going  to  be 
concerned,  and  there  are  very  few  people  who  are  thinking 

Soul  Session  [  269 

more  than  15  or  20  years  ahead.  But  people  who  are  in  tune 
with  their  own  seed  energy,  like  ourselves,  are  about  the  only 
people  who  are  spinning  out  blueprints;  therefore  our  blue- 
print is  more  likely  to  come  about  than  the  more  secular  and 
limited  blueprints  of  the  politicians. 

Sol:  Back  just  a  second  to  the  underground,  with  the  steel 
and  concrete  and  stuff.  H.  G.  Wells  formulated  a  science  fiction 
story  called  The  Time  Machine,  which  predicted  a  world  of  this 
sort  back  about  20  or  30  years  ago.  I  think  he  said  around  the 
year  2000.  He  visualized  a  dualized  society  where  the  flower 
people  lived  on  the  surface— 

Leary:  Oh,  really? 

Sol:  —and  the  machine  people  lived  underground.  Do  you 
foresee  this? 

Leary:  Yes.  That's  interesting.  I  have  not  read  that  nor  read 
those  phrases  but  it  is  exactly  my  own  conception;  it  just  makes 
organic  sense. 

Sol:  Have  you  seen  the  movie  The  Time  Machine? 

Leary:  No,  I  didn't. 

Sol:  As  a  matter  of  fact— 

Leary:  I  would  like  to  see  it. 

Sol:  —it  is  parallel  to  what's  happening  here. 

Leary:  What  I  think  will  happen  is  that  man  will  live 
aboveground  and  will  recapitulate  preseed  cycles.  Seed  cycles 
where  one  will  relive  the  entire  growth  process  inside  your 
mother's  womb.  Then  you  do  it  again  as  you  grow  up  as  a  child, 
if  you  live  aboveground;  and  you  will  do  it  again,  a  third  time, 
if  you  have  children.  Now  in  this  society,  people  will  start 
having  children  when  the  DNA  thought  they  should,  not  when 
they  get  their  Ph.D.  but  when  they  start  to  become  adolescents. 
The  DNA  code  has  designed  us  to  have  babies  at  the  age  of 
thirteen,  fourteen,  fifteen,  because  that  is  when  the  seed  power 
is  at  its  height.  But  of  course,  our  chessboard,  artificial  society, 
postpones  this,  and  it's  fighting  the  wisdom  of  the  DNA  code.  It 
is  purely  possible  for  someone  to  have  completed  the  three  seed 
cycles— once  in  the  womb,  once  growing  up  yourself,  and  once 
growing  up  with  your  children— at  the  age  of  twenty-three  or 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  270 

twenty-four;  you  are  ready  to  live  out  of  the  cycle.  I  don't  think 
people  should  be  taught  control  of  metal  and  these  potentially 
antilife  energies  until  they  have  completed  three  seed  cycles  and 
have  enough  reverence  for,  and  understanding  of  life  that  they 
can  then  be  allowed  to  deal  with  life-killing  instruments.  The 
problem  is  that  the  person  doesn't  really— hasn't  been  turned  on 
to  his  life  seed  thing.  He  thinks  nothing  of  taking  these  instru- 
ments of  death  into  his  hands— like  the  gas  engine— and  killing 
life  with  it.  So  we  have  teen-age  kids  with  guns  and  autos,  and 
this  doesn't  make  sense  to  our  DNA  code.  At  the  age  of  twenty- 
five  or  twenty-six  you  say,  well,  you  have  a  choice.  You  can  live 
aboveground,  or  if  you  would  like  to  go  on  to  the  next  level,  if 
you  are  at  that  stage  of  holiness  and  you  understand  the  sacred- 
ness  of  life,  you  can  be  trusted  with  the  more  powerful  sacra- 
ments of  electricity  and  energy.  Then  you  go  belowground,  and 
our  understanding  of  the  nervous  system  acceleration,  chemi- 
cally and  electronically,  is  such  that  you  can  be  taught  the 
symbols  of  electronic  physics.  You  know,  our  educational  sys- 
tems are  so  brutally  inefficient  and  so  shamefully  disregard  the 
crux  of  the  matter.  When  we  teach  kids  in  school,  we  teach 
them  not  to  learn.  At  the  age  of  twenty,  twenty-four,  whenever 
a  person  is  holy  enough  to  learn  these  more  powerful  energies, 
why,  then  he  can  learn  very  quickly.  You  can  teach  someone 
nuclear  physics  in  three  or  four  months.  Then  he  can  live 
underground,  he  can  do  his  yoga.  There  will  be  breakthroughs 
in  physics  so  that  telepathy  in  10  or  15  years  will  be  common- 
place. Physics  is  going  to  expand  as  more  physicists  turn  on. 

Sol:  You  have  mentioned  that  in  keeping  with  an  attune- 
ment  with  the  natural  stage  of  our  lives,  there  is  a  point  at 
which  a  person  should  cease  to  attempt  to  continue  to  control  or 
affect  things.  I  want  to  talk  about  the  menopausal  mind  and 
when  a  person  is  entering  old  age.  Do  you  feel  at  this  point  that 
people  should  just  sit  back  and  enjoy  life  or  what  there  is  of  it 

Leary:  Yes,  they  should  realize  that  the  whole  thing  is  a 
spiritual  journey,  and  the  person  over  fifty,  who  is  dying  any- 
way, who's  half  dead,  should  concentrate  on  coming  to  terms 

Soul  Session  [  271 

with  his  own  death  and  getting  an  overall  perspective  and 
gracefully  turning  it  over  to  the  young  people.  So  we've  got  to 
get  the  older  people  to  turn  on.  We've  got  to  get  big  reserva- 
tions for  older  people  instead  of  these  senior  citizens  places 
where  we  surround  them  with  machines.  We've  got  to  get  them 
to  do  nothing  but  dance  and  make  love  with  God.  They  should 
radiate  humor  and  mellowness,  and  they  don't  care  about  power 
anymore,  and  you  should  be  able  to  go  to  older  people  as  you 
did  in  the  village  tribe,  and  the  old  man  is  sitting  there 
barefoot,  half-naked,  with  his  beard,  and  he's  glowing,  and  he 
doesn't  care.  A  holy  man  is  someone  who  doesn't  care  about  the 
little  chess  game  of  power;  he  doesn't  care  about  the  chess  game 
of  possessions;  he  doesn't  care  about  sex,  even;  he's  beyond  all 
these  bodily  things  and  he's  radiating  the  joys  of  all  of  every- 
thing. That's  why  we've  got  to  get  our  older  people  to  turn  on. 

Sol:  Now  I  know  that  it's  hard  to  set  arbitrary  evaluations, 
but  at  that  stage,  do  you  feel  a  person  begins  to  step  into  this 
realm  that  you  say  ends  at  around  fifty  or  some  stage  where  the 
menopausal  mind  sets  in?  Where  does  a  person  first  enter  life's 
power  zone,  as  it  were? 

Leary:  All  this  has  been  spelled  out  in  oriental  philosophy. 
The  West  knows  all  about  machines  and  fails  to  realize  that  all 
the  wisdom  has  come  from  the  East.  The  Hindus  were  dealing 
with  these  problems  that  the  psychedelic  generation  is  dealing 
with  4,000  years  ago.  It's  all  spelled  out  in  the  sacred  teachings 
of  the  East,  and  they  say  that  there  are  the  4  stages  of  life  in 
which  you've  got  to  learn  to  use  your  senses  and  your  seed  power, 
and  naturally  you're  going  to  enjoy  your  sensual  body.  You're 
going  to  enjoy  making  love  and  to  have  babies  and  to  support 
your  babies.  You're  going  to  have  duties,  and  then  you  have  to 
have  a  little  power,  enough  to  protect  your  territory  and  to  feed 
and  support  your  group.  And  when  your  kids  are  old  enough  to 
take  over,  then  you  go  to  the  fourth,  which  is  the  goal,  the  end 
point  where  you  can  say,  I'm  dropping  out.  I  don't  have  to  worry 
anymore.  Now  I  can  just—  You  go  to  the  holy  cities,  like  Rishi- 
kish  in  India,  and  there  are  all  these  old  people  there  that  have 
been  businessmen  in  Bombay  and  college  professors,  and  you'll 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [272 

find  some  old  ex-governor  Reagans  naked  in  Rishikish  going 
around  barefoot,  and  they've  got  these  orange  robes,  and  it's 
just  a  big  LSD  session.  Everyone's  high,  and  you  don't  care 
about  the  British  Empire  and  taxation;  they're  beyond  that. 
They're  just  there  to  hear  the  roar  of  the  Ganges  reminding 
them  that  it's  been  going  on  for  thousands  of  years. 

Sol:  Do  you  anticipate,  then,  the  evolution  of  a  new  type  of 
homogeneous  society?  H.  G.  Wells'  idea  was  of  a  polarized 
society  and  that  they  clashed— 

Leary:  Yes. 

Sol:  Do  you  anticipate  a  clash  now  and  later  the  evolution  to 
a  homogeneous  society,  or  do  you  think  that  the  clash  will—? 

Leary:  The  clash  can  be  avoided  by  consulting  your  own 
energy  system  and  seeing  that  there  is  a  place  for  everything— a 
place  for  the  machine  people  and  a  place  for  the  seed,  flower 
people;  you  just  have  to  arrange  your  own  life  so  that  you  can 
follow  a  harmonious  sequence.  Now  we  are  very  much  against 
polarization.  Conflict.  There  is  a  danger,  though,  that  it  will  go 
that  way,  there  is  a  danger  that  man  will  evolve  into  different 
species.  We  must  realize  that  evolution  is  not  through,  that 
man  is  not  a  final  product,  and  just  as  there  are  many  species  of 
primate,  there  may  be  just  as  many  species  evolving  from  what 
we  now  call  man,  homo  sapiens.  It  may  well  be  that  we'll  have 
two  species.  One  species,  which  is  the  machine  species,  will  like 
to  live  in  metal  buildings  and  skyscrapers  and  will  get  their 
kicks  by  just  becoming  part  of  a  machine.  That  species  of  man 
will  become  an  unnecessary,  easily  worn-out  part  of  the  whole 
technological  machinery.  In  that  case,  man  will  become  anony- 
mous—just like  the  anthill  or  the  beehive.  Sex  will  become  very 
depersonalized.  It  will  become  very  promiscuous.  You  won't 
care  who  you  make  love  to  because  they're  all  just  replaceable 
parts.  You  know,  she's  the  new  pretty  blond  girl  who  runs  the 
teletype  machine,  and  you'll  ball  her,  and  then  tomorrow,  the 
secretary  who  runs  the  electronic  typewriter;  so  that  we  may 
well  get  a  new  species  who  will  be  technological.  But  I  do  know 
that  our  seed-flower  species  will  continue.  And  we  may  hang  out 
in  new  pockets  of  disease  which  the  machine  people  haven't 

Soul  Session  [  273 

cleaned  up  with  their  antiseptics.  And  we'll  be  somewhere  out 
in  the  marshes,  or  somewhere  out  in  the  woods,  laughing  at  the 
machine  and  enjoying  our  senses  and  having  ecstasies  and  re- 
membering where  we  came  from  and  teaching  our  children 
that,  believe  it  or  not,  we're  not  machines  and  we  weren't  de- 
signed to  make  machines  and  we  weren't  designed  to  run  ma- 
chines. I  think  you  have  to  be  a  very  holy  man  to  appreciate 
and  understand  and  run  a  machine  because  the  machine  is  a 
beautiful  yoga  and  a  beautiful  ecstasy.  I've  nothing  against 
machines;  it's  just  incredible  that  the  DNA  code  could  produce 
us  and  then  produce  these  machines.  It's  part  of  the  glory  of 
God's  process,  but  the  machine's  got  to  be  seen  as  a  sacrament, 
not  as  a  god. 

Sol:  The  way  our  society's  structured,  currently,  legally— un- 
fortunately, this  is  the  supranatural  structure  which  is  imposed 
upon  us— legally  a  person  attains  to  and  reaches  the  age  of  ma- 
turity at  the  age  of  twenty-one  and  continues  in  that  state  until 
his  death. 

Leary:  Right. 

Sol:  Now,  at  what  point  do  you  believe  a  person  does  attain 
to  this  realization  of  himself? 

Leary:  Obey  the  DNA  code!  I  scoff  at  the  chess-game  laws 
of  man;  they  are  all  old  men  that  rule  and  pass  such  laws.  There 
was  never  a  young  teen-ager  that  passed  a  law  against  sex. 
Rightl  Or  a  poor  young  teen-ager  that  passed  laws  about  guard- 
ing a  bank.  I  follow  the  laws  of  nature,  and  nature  tells  you 
when  someone  should  vote.  Now  when  a  girl  menstruates, 
nature  is  saying  that  she  is  ready,  and  when  a  young  man 
reaches  puberty,  nature  is  saying  that  he  is  ready.  One  of  the 
terrible  things,  of  course,  about  the  menopausal  society  is  that 
the  older  you  get,  the  more  brain  damaged  you  are,  but  in  our 
society,  the  older  you  get,  the  more  power  you  get.  So  we  now 
have  this  paradoxical,  suicidal  situation  in  the  United  States,  all 
of  the  wealth  being  in  the  hands  of  the  menopausal  people,  who 
are  naturally  only  concerned  with  protecting  this,  and  that's 
why  we  have  a  very  unhappy,  violent  country.  We  are  physically 
violent;  there  is  murder,  and  there's  assassination  and  there  is 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  274 

worry.  Look  at  Johnson's  face;  he  is  not  a  happy  man.  And  look 
at  those  old  devils  in  Congress;  they're  not  happy,  joyous 
people.  It  disturbs  me  as  it  disturbs  all  turned-on  prophets- 
there  is  so  much  unnecessary  suffering.  I  think  that  there  should 
be  laws  that  allow  people  to  vote  at  puberty,  and  you  should 
certainly  take  voting  away  at  menopause.  No  one  over  the  age 
of  fifty  should  be  allowed  to  vote.  Why  should  they  bother?  The 
reason  they  vote  is  because  they  have  no  trust  in  the  kids,  no 
trust  in  the  seed  bearers.  If  they  really  trusted  the  process,  they 
would  gladly  give  up  the  vote. 

Sol:  I  still  have  a  few  questions.  Seems  like  we  keep  picking 
up  extra  ones  as  we  go  along:  A  few  moments  ago  you  used  the 
term  "God."  From  your  perspective,  who,  what,  where,  when, 
and  why  is  God?  [General  laughter]  Because  we  have  concepts 
of  God  and  so  many  young,  pseudo-  or  neo-intellectuals  become 
atheistic  or  nontheistic  or  pantheistic. 

Leary:  a  lot  of  people  think  I've  sold  out  because  we've 
started  a  religion.  Some  kids  think  that  religion  means  all  the 
hypocrisy  of  the  Congressman,  and  the  faggot  minister  and  the 
conservative  Sunday  school  and  so  forth.  I  think  this  is  tragic— 

Sol:  Are  you  using  the  ploy  of  religion  to  get  by  the  LSD 

Leary:  No,  we  had  a  religion  going  long  before  we  started 
our  league  formally.  We  were  a  religious  group  5  or  6  years  ago, 
when  we  originally  came  here.  Like  it  or  not,  or  believe  it  or  not, 
I'm  convinced  that  the  religious  kick  is  the  only  experience 
that  makes  life  worthwhile.  The  moment  of  revelation  when 
you're  turned  on  to  the  whole  process,  which  men  of  old  called 
the  mystic,  is  the  whole  purpose  of  life.  The  great  religious 
leaders  were  the  greatest  figures  of  all.  Buddha  was  the  most 
tumed-on  guy.  Buddha  wanted  to  get  rid  of  suffering.  All  the 
concepts  about  virtue,  hard  work,  and  being  good  are  part  of 
that  old  con  game.  Religion  to  us  is  ecstasy.  It  is  freedom  and 
harmony.  Kids  should  not  let  the  fake,  television-prop  religion 
they  were  taught  as  kids  turn  them  off.  The  real  trip  is  the  God 
trip.  Now  to  get  back  to  the  question  as  to  who  is  God:  For 
thousands  of  years  skeptics  have  been  asking  visionaries  like  me. 

Soul  Session  [  275 

"All  right,  who  is  God?  Does  he  speak  Latin?  Does  he  speak 
Greek?  Does  he  have  a  white  skin  or  a  black  one?"  You  think  I 
can  use  a  3,000- word  language  like  English  to  define  a  process 
which  is  5  billion  years  old  on  this  planet  and  which  operates  at 
the  speed  of  light  and  manifests  itself  in  ever-changing  forms?  I 
can  teach  you  how  to  find  God.  I  can  teach  you  methods;  that's 
my  profession.  To  talk  to  God  yourself,  you  are  going  to  have  to 
throw  away  all  your  definitions  and  just  surrender  to  this 
process,  and  then  you  can  come  back  and  try  to  tune  in  and 
develop  an  art  form  which  will  communicate  your  vision.  God 
does  exist  and  is  to  me  this  energy  process;  the  language  of  God 
is  the  DNA  code.  Beyond  that,  the  language  of  God  is  the 
nucleus  of  the  atom.  Above  that,  the  language  of  God  is  the 
exquisite,  carefully  worked  out  dialogue  of  the  planets  and  the 
galaxies,  etc.  And  it  does  exist  and  there  is  an  intelligence  and 
there  is  a  planfulness  and  a  wisdom  and  power  that  you  can 
tune  in  to.  Men  have  called  this  process,  for  the  lack  of  a  better 
word,  "God."  I  know  that  when  I  was  at  Harvard,  God  was  a 
dirty  word;  God  is  "dog"  spelled  backward.  I  don't  care  what 
you  call  it.  It  took  me  5  years  of  taking  LSD  before  I  would  say 
the  word  "God"  out  loud.  Because  you  have  to  feel  right  to  say 
it,  and  I  feel  very  comfortable  now  in  saying  that  I  do  talk  to 
God  and  I  listen  to  Him.  He  is  a  hipster.  He  is  a  musician,  and 
He's  got  a  great  beat  going.  You'll  never  find  Him  in  an  institu- 
tion or  in  an  American  television  stage  set.  He's  never  legal  1 
And  He's  got  a  great  sense  of  humor,  too!  I  digressed,  and  I 
repeated  myself  and  I  don't  pretend  to  talk  in  any  linear  fashion. 
I'm  not  writing  a  book  or  a  paragraph.  I'm  more  like  a  musi- 
cian, and  I  repeat  riffs.  .  .  .  You  can  feel  free  to  edit,  cut  out, 
or  move  it  around  any  way  that  you  want.  I  hope  you  will,  for 
I've  been  repeating  myself. 

Sol:  One  last  question.  It  is  necessary,  you  said,  to  protect 
property  rights.  It  will  be  necessary  for  there  to  be  some  basic 

Leary:  Render  unto  Caesar  everything  external. 

Sol:  What  is  Caesar? 

Leary:  Society,  politics,  rules. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  276 

Sol:  How  would  this  be  achieved  in  the  projected  society 
which  could  be  achieved,  ideally?  Would  we  have  to  elect  1  out 
of  every  15  persons  and  have  him  go  and  represent  those  15? 
Will  there  be  tribal  elders? 

Leary:  Democracy  is  a  failure  because  it  is  based  upon  a 
political  unit  which  is  not  organic— the  individual  mind.  The 
political  unit  should  be  the  tribe;  property  should  be  held  by 
the  tribe,  by  the  extended  family.  Voting  should  be  by  the 
extended  family.  The  idea  that  one  man  decides  to  vote  for 
Johnson  or  Goldwater.  Ha,  ha!  Some  choice,  right?  My  mind  is 
going  to  decide.  That's  putting  too  much  burden  on  my  mind; 
it  exaggerates  my  personality.  We  must  return  to— advance  to— 
the  tribal  unit  of  society. 



Goof's  Secret  Agent  A.0.S.3 

Rosemary  and  I  had  been  waiting  for  Him  for  five  hours.  He's 
always  and  deliberately  erratic  about  appointments.  Science 
fiction  James  Bond  paranoia.  Throw  off  police  surveillance. 
Suddenly  I  could  feel  His  presence.  A  telepathic  hit.  He  really 
does  emit  powerful  vibrations.  A  minute  later  His  boots 
drummed  on  the  walk. 

He  looked  tired,  pale,  but  the  furry,  quick  animal  tension 
was  still  there.  Black  leather  sleeveless  jacket.  Wide-sleeved, 
multicolored  theatrical  shirt.  Jangling  bells.  The  magician.  The 
electronic  wizard. 

He  had  been  up  several  days  working  in  his  laboratory  and 
was  coming  off  an  acid  high.  He  wanted  to  be  warm. 

Rosemary  and  I  built  up  the  fire,  lit  candles  and  fell  out  on  a 
low  divan.  He  paced  the  floor  in  front  of  us.  He's  not  tall,  and 
He  likes  to  stay  above  His  listeners,  higher  than  everyone  else, 
moving  while  they  rest. 

He  started  a  three-hour  rap  abour  energy,  electronics,  drugs, 
politics,  the  nature  of  God  and  the  place  of  man  in  the  divine 
system.  Laughing  at  His  own  brilliance,  turning  himself  on, 
turning  us  on.  Einsteinian  physics  and  Buddhist  philosophy 
translated  into  the  fast,  right,  straight  rhythm  of  acid-rock  hip. 

The  television  folk  heroes  of  today  are  the  merry  outlaws  of 
the  past.  The  television  Robin  Hoods  of  the  future,  the  folk 
heroes  of  the  twenty-first  century,  will  be  the  psychedelic  drug 

He  doesn't  want  me  to  use  his  name. 


The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  278 

promoters  of  the  1960's.  A  good  bet  for  romantic  immortality  is 
A.O.S.3.  God's  Secret  Agent  A.O.S.3,  acid  king,  LSD  millionaire, 
test-tube  Pancho  Villa,  is  the  best-known  of  a  band  of  dedicated, 
starry-eyed  chemical  crusaders  who  outwitted  the  wicked,  gun- 
toting  federals  and  bravely  turned  on  the  land  of  the  young  and 
the  free  to  the  electronic  harmony  of  the  future. 

In  the  daily  press  the  Reagans  and  Romneys  merit  the 
adulatory  headlines.  The  Holy  Alchemists,  if  mentioned  at  all, 
are  denounced  as  sordid  criminals.  But  the  simple  truth  is  that 
the  Reagans  and  Romneys  will  soon  be  forgotten.  Can  anyone 
remember  which  Republicans  were  struggling  for  the  nomina- 
tion in  1956? 

The  mythic  folk  heroes  of  our  times  will  be  the  psychedelic- 
drug  outlaws,  the  science  fiction  Johnny  Appleseeds  who  build 
secret  laboratories,  scrounge  the  basic  chemicals,  experiment, 
experiment,  experiment  to  develop  new  ecstasy  pills,  who  test 
their  homemade  sacraments  on  their  own  bodies  and  the  flesh  of 
their  trusting  friends,  who  distribute  the  precious  new  waters  of 
life  through  a  network  of  dedicated  colleagues,  forever  under- 
ground, hidden,  as  the  mysteries  have  always  been  hidden  from 
the  hard-eyed  agents  of  Caesar,  Pharaoh,  Herod,  Pope  Paul, 
Napoleon,  Stalin,  Lyndon  B.  Nixon  and  J.  Edgar  Hoover. 

For  the  last  seven  years  I  have  watched  with  admiration  these 
LSD  frontiersmen,  the  Golden  Bootleggers,  manufacture  and 
pass  on  the  sacraments.  Laughing,  pupil-dilated,  visionary  al- 
chemists who  seek  nothing  less  than  the  sudden  mind-blowing 
liberation  of  their  fellow  man. 

First,  of  course,  there  was  reluctant  Albert  Hoffman  of 
Sandoz,  the  staid,  involuntary  agent  mysteriously  selected  to 
give  LSD  to  the  human  race.  The  full  story  of  this  remarkable 
Swiss  scientist  remains  to  be  told.  But  this  much  I  have  heard. 
His  first  LSD  trips  were  deep,  revelatory  religious  experiences. 
The  establishment  press  tries  to  tell  us  that  Hoffman's  first 
sessions  were  accidental  and  frightening  and  freaky.  The  facts 
are  that  Hoffman,  a  spiritual  man,  grasped  immediately  the 
implications  of  his  discovery  and  initiated  a  high-level,  ethical, 
gentleman's  conspiracy  of  philosophically  minded  scientists  to 

God's  Secret  Agent  A.0.S.3  [  279 

disseminate  LSD  for  the  benefit  of  the  human  race.  His  tactical 
mistake  (if,  indeed,  he  made  one)  was  to  work  through  the 
established  professions,  failing  to  see  that  a  complete  revision  of 
social  form  would  necessarily  follow  the  use  of  his  discovery. 

Rosemary  had  made  tea  and  put  a  red  sanctuary  light  on  the 
gold-framed  madonna.  He  paced  in  front  of  us  like  a  newly 
caged  animal.  {Rosemary,  what  kind  of  animal  is  He?  Oh,  He's 
furry,  warm,  nervous,  whiskers  twitching,  ears  alert,  carnivorous 
but  gentle.  Like  a  squirrel,  but  bigger.  Perhaps  a  badger  or  a 
raccoon.  They  are  very  intelligent.) 

He  preaches:  Oh,  man,  how  beautifully  it  all  fits  together. 
Dig,  the  first  atomic  fission  occurred  in  December  1942. 

Is  that  the  one  in  the  Chicago  squash  court? 

Yeah.  Now  dig.  The  Van  Allen  belt  is  a  thick  blanket  of 
electronic  activity  protecting  this  planet.  What  is  the  earth?  A 
core  of  molten  metals  covered  by  a  thin  layer  of  soft,  vulner- 
able, organic  tissue.  Life  nibbling  away,  nibbling  away  at  the 
rock  beneath.  All  life  on  this  planet  is  a  delicate  network  uni- 
fied. Each  living  form  feeding  on  the  others.  And  being  eaten. 
The  Van  Allen  belt  is  the  higher  intelligence  protecting  earth 
from  lethal  solar  radiation,  and  it's  in  touch  with  every  form  of 
living  intelligence  on  the  earth— vegetable,  animal,  human. 

I  laughed.  Alchemist,  you  are  so  orthodox!  Our  Father  who 
art  in  heaven  above!  I  pointed  upward.  He  really  is  up  there, 
huh?  Thy  kingdom  come,  thy  will  be  done  on  earth  as  it  is  in 
the  Van  Allen  belt! 

He  didn't  stop  to  acknowledge  my  comment.  Somehow  He 
records  neurologically  what  I  say  and  reprograms  it,  and  prints 
it  back  out  to  me  in  endless  tapes  of  electronic  poety,  but  He 
never  listens. 

Now  dig.  The  Supreme  Intelligence  sees  that  man  has  redis- 
covered atomic  energy.  Wow!  We  gotta  stop  those  cats  before 
they  disrupt  the  whole  living  network.  The  only  thing  DNA 
fears  is  radiation.  That's  why  the  Van  Allen  belt  is  there. 

OK,  now  get  this.  Four  months  after  the  first  fission,  Hoffman 
accidentally,  ha  ha,  rediscovers  LSD,  which  is  now  psychoactive. 


The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  280 

Yeahj  man.  Actually  Hoffman  first  synthesized  LSD  in  1938, 
but  it  gave  no  hit.  No  turn-on.  Now  why  is  it  that  Hoffman 
handles  LSD  in  1938  and  nothing  happens  and  then  in  1943, 
three  months  after  atomic  energy  is  released,  he  puts  his  finger 
on  lysergic  acid  and  gets  flipped  out?  What  happened?  Did 
Hoffman  suddenly  get  careless?  Or  had  LSD  suddenly  been 
changed  into  a  psychedelic  chemical?  Competent  chemists  just 
don't  change  their  handling  of  compounds.  Hoffman's  tech- 
niques are  standard. 

His  eyes  are  dancing  and  He's  laughing  and  his  hands  and 
body  are  moving.  He  was  a  ballet  dancer  once  before  He  started 
making  drugs. 

Now  dig.  The  atomic  fission  in  December  1942  changed  the 
whole  system  of  energy  in  this  solar  system.  The  higher  intelli- 
gence decides  to  make  a  few  simple  changes  in  the  electronic 
structure  of  some  atoms,  and  zap!  We  have  LSD,  an  incredibly 
powerful  substance  that  is  the  exact  antidote  to  atomic  energy. 
People  take  LSD,  and  flash!  They  get  the  message  and  start 
putting  things  back  in  harmony  with  the  great  design.  Stop  war! 
Wear  flowers!  Conservation!  Turning  on  people  to  LSD  is  the 
precise  and  only  way  to  keep  war  from  blowing  up  the  whole 

Hoffman's  plan  was  to  persuade  square  psychiatrists  and 
medical  researchers  to  use  LSD.  But  of  course,  it  never  happens 
that  way.  The  respectable  researchers  were  afraid.  They  didn't 
get  the  point.  So  the  first  far-out,  messianic  apostle-alchemist  of 
the  psychedelic  age  was  a  rum-drinking,  snake-oil-fundamental- 
ist-Bible Belt  salesman  type  named  Hal  Lubbard.  Like  A.O.S.3, 
Hal  Lubbard  is  a  legendary,  behind-the-scenes  operator  whose 
brilliance  was  deliberatly  shielded  behind  a  veil  of  rumor.  This 
much  is  known.  In  the  1950's  Lubbard  was  turned  on  to  LSD 
and  got  the  message  at  once.  He  had  made  money  in  uranium 
mining  during  the  forties  and  saw  the  connection  right  away. 
(Do  you?)  Then  this  incredible  shaman  playing  the  role  of  an 
uneducated,  coarse,  blustering,  Roman  Catholic  hillbilly  boozer 
proceeded  to  turn  on  several  dozen  top  sophisticated  scientists 
and  show  them  the  sacramental  meaning  of  LSD. 

God's  Secret  Agent  A.0.S.3  [  281 

When  the  medical  associations  complained  about  nonmedics 
dispensing  drugs,  Hal  chuckled  and  bought  a  doctor's  degree 
from  a  diploma  store  in  the  South  for  fifty  dollars,  and  as  Doctor- 
Tongue-in-Cheek,  Lubbard  was  accepted  admiringly  by  psy- 
chiatrist Osmond,  scientist  Hofer,  and  Aldous  Huxley  and 
philosopher  Gerald  Heard  and  even  Sidney  Cohen  of  UCLA. 
Hal  Lubbard  was  the  first  psychedelic  tactician  to  see  that 
supply-control  of  the  drug  would  be  a  key  issue  in  the  future,  so 
he  kept  up  a  mysterious  schedule  of  procurement-distribution 
flights.  East  Coast-West  Coast-East  Europe-West  Europe, 
bargaining,  wheedling,  swapping  to  build  up  the  first  under- 
ground supply  of  the  most  precious  substance  the  world  has 
ever  known.  The  current  retail  price  of  LSD  is  from  $20,000  to 
$50,000  a  gram.  A  million  dollars  an  ounce. 

Lubbard's  plan  was  to  have  a  chain  of  medically  approved 
LSD  clinics  throughout  the  country.  It  was  a  brilliant,  Utopian, 
American-businessman  stroke  of  genius  and  would  have,  among 
other  things,  ended  the  threat  of  war  on  this  planet,  but 
Lubbard  failed  to  realize  that  spiritual  revelations  and  Buddhist 
ecstasies  were  the  last  thing  that  the  medical  associations  and 
government  bureaus  run  by  J.  Edgar  Lyndon  were  going  to 
approve,  and  the  International  Foundation  for  Advanced 
Studies,  his  pilot  clinic  in  Menlo  Park,  California  (which 
turned  on  several  hundred  of  the  most  influential  people  in  the 
San  Francisco  Bay  area) ,  was  ruthlessly  closed  by  the  FDA  in 
spite  of  its  impressive  psychiatric  and  medical  credentials.  So 
Hal  Lubbard  dropped  out,  disappeared  and  was  reincarnated  in 
the  new  form  of  Dr.  Spaulding. 

It  was  a  gray,  cold,  winter  day  in  1962.  Dick  Alpert  and  I 
took  the  day  off  from  Harvard  and  flew  in  Dick's  plane  to  New 
York.  Dick's  father  was  president  of  the  New  Haven  Railroad, 
and  the  cop  under  Grand  Central  saluted  as  we  got  into  the 
huge  black  Cadillac  with  the  license  plate  NHRR,  which  was 
equipped  with  two-way  radio  and  an  extra  set  of  wheels  to  run 
on  tracks, 

I  asked  Dick,  "Who  owns  Grand  Central  Station?** 

He  said,  *' Pennsylvania  Railroad  owns  half,  and  we  own  half." 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  282 

Dick  was  good  at  throwing  away  lines.  We  headed  south  to  visit 
a  chemical  factory.  Going  through  the  waterfront-Mafia  section 
of  Jersey  City,  I  had  to  laugh.  Two  Harvard  professors  driving 
in  a  black  limousine  through  the  dark  slum  city  to  score  drugs 
which  would  change  the  world. 

In  the  wood-paneled  conference  room  of  Sandoz  Laboratories 
the  top  pharmaceutical  executives  laughed  uneasily.  We  are  a 
medical  drug  house.  How  can  we  market  an  ecstasy  pill  to  be 
used  by  God  seekers?  The  vice-president  grinned.  Let's  say  LSD 
isn't  a  drug.  Let's  call  it  a  food  and  bottle  it  like  Coca-Cola!  The 
company  lawyer's  reflex  frown.  As  a  food,  it  still  mu^t  be 
licensed  by  the  FDA,  and  they  think  medical. 

The  conference  was  a  failure.  They  were  sympathetic  but 
weren't  going  to  lose  their  AMA-FDA  respectability  by  releas- 
ing LSD  to  the  public.  We  shook  hands,  and  Dick  said,  "Well, 
gentlemen,  we'll  have  to  do  your  marketing  for  you."  And  we 
all  laughed. 

One  of  the  crew-cut  executives  escorted  us  down  to  the  car. 
On  the  elevator,  he  suddenly  pulled  a  pill  bottle  out  of  his 
pocket  and  shoved  it  in  my  hand.  'Tve  taken  LSD.  I  know 
what's  happening.  Here's  five  grams.  Don't  say  where  you  got  it. 
Use  it  wisely." 

By  this  time  (1962)  we  had  set  up  a  loose  but  effective  dis- 
tribution system  for  free  LSD.  A  university  psychologist  in  the 
Midwest.  A  God-intoxicated  businessman  in  Atlanta.  A  few 
God-loving  ministers  and  rabbis.  David  Soloman,  at  that  time 
editor  of  the  jazz  magazine  Metronome.  Allen  Ginsberg.  Dozens 
of  holy  psychiatrists.  All  giving  psychedelics  to  people  they 
knew  were  ready  for  the  trip.  A  responsible  network  of  friends. 

Every  time  our  supplies  would  run  low,  a  new  shaman- 
alchemist  would  appear. 

Like  Bernie  and  Barnie,  the  flipped-out  desert  holy  men,  who 
had  been  taking  the  peyote  trip  with  the  Indians  for  years  and 
writing  crazy,  brilliant,  illiterate  books  on  telepathy  and  accel- 
erated learning  through  LSD.  Bernie  claimed  to  have  mastered 
the  German  language  in  two  acid  sessions.  They  had  learned 
how  to  make  LSD,  which  they  distributed  in  rubber-stopped 

God's  Secret  Agent  A.0.S.3  [  283 

bottles,  a  strange  brown  elixir  with  curious  green  seaweed 
strands.  They  sold  the  sacrament  at  bargain  rates  to  dozens  of 
famous  people  in  California  before  they  were  treacherously 
betrayed  to  the  feds.  They  didn't  get  along  well  with  their 
defense  attorneys  and  built  their  case  around  an  insane  plot  to 
get  the  judge  and  jury  to  taste  their  brew,  which  would  have 
revolutionized  jurisprudence  forever.  But  the  judge  recoiled  in 
horror  and  gave  them  19-year  sentences,  which  they  jumped. 
God  be  with  you,  beloved  guides,  wherever  you  are. 

Some  time  later  (the  exact  date  must  be  kept  vague)  I  was 
lecturing  in  a  college  town.  A  note  to  my  hotel.  Please  call  a 
Doctor  Spaulding.  Urgent.  Had  to  see  me  after  the  lecture. 

He  was  a  distinguished-looking  man  in  his  fifties.  One  of  the 
ten  leading  chemists  in  the  country.  Big-boned,  handsome, 
jolly,  athlete-scholar  type. 

He  drove  his  car  with  strange  jungle  caution,  checking  the 
rear-view  mirror,  doubling  around  blocks.  He  drove  to  the 
middle  of  a  deserted  supermarket  parking  lot  and  stopped  the 
car.  Cloak  and  dagger.  He  came  right  to  the  point.  He  had 
taken  LSD  several  times.  He  knew  what  it  would  do.  He  also 
knew  that  the  government  was  alarmed.  A  lot  of  high-level 
people  had  turned  on  and  knew  that  LSD  was  a  religious 
experience.  But  they  were  worried.  Big  power  struggle  over 
control  of  drugs  in  Washington.  The  narcotics  bureau  of  the 
Treasury  Department  wanted  to  keep  all  drugs  illegal,  to  step 
up  law  enforcement,  add  thousands  of  T-men,  G-men  and  narks 
to  the  payroll.  On  the  other  hand,  the  medics  and  scientists  in 
the  government  wanted  the  FDA  to  handle  all  drugs,  including 
heroin,  pot,  LSD.  Make  it  a  medical  matter.  Would  I  make  a 
deal?  Would  I  tell  the  FDA  all  I  knew  about  the  black  market 
and  smash  the  underground  distribution  of  LSD?  If  I  coop- 
erated, I'd  be  guaranteed  research  approval  to  use  LSD.  We  had 
to  help  the  FDA  get  control  of  the  drugs.  Then  marijuana  and 
LSD  would  be  legal  for  licensed  use.  But  we  had  to  keep  the 
kids  from  getting  LSD  or  the  hard-line-cop  faction  in  Washing- 
ton would  get  the  anti-LSD  legislation  they  wanted.  If  I  didn't 
cooperate,  I'd  be  busted. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  284 

I  looked  at  him  and  laughed.  Not  a  chance.  This  is  a  country 
of  free  citizens.  LSD  and  marijuana  are  none  of  the  govern- 
ment's business  to  give  or  take  away.  If  it's  a  choice,  I'd  rather 
have  the  kids  using  LSD  than  the  doctors.  Kids  are  holier.  And 
if  it's  a  choice  between  becoming  a  government  informer  or  get 
busted,  I'll  go  to  jail. 

Dr.  Spaulding  laughed  knowingly.  Okay,  I  had  to  make  the 
offer,  but  I  knew  you  wouldn't  scare.  But  you  should  know  that 
a  big  government  crackdown  is  coming.  All  the  sources  of  LSD 
will  be  sealed  off.  You  better  stock  up.  How  much  do  you  have 
on  hand  now? 

Not  much.  A  few  thousand  doses. 

How  much  LSD  can  you  use? 

I  looked  at  him  in  surprise.  He  starts  out  like  a  fed,  and  now 
he's  offering  me  acid. 

He  saw  my  look  and  started  to  explain.  A  few  of  us  saw  this 
coming  several  years  ago.  We  started  stockpiling  the  raw  lyser- 
gic acid  base.  We  have  the  largest  supply  of  LSD  in  the  world. 
More  than  Sandoz,  more  than  Red  China,  more  than  our  De- 
fense Department.  We  want  to  give  it  away  to  responsible 
people  who  won't  try  to  profit  by  it  and  who  can  get  it  out  to 
the  people.  Okay.  How  much  can  you  distribute  in  one  year? 

The  scene  was  surrealistic.  This  famous,  eminently  respect- 
able professor  offering  to  set  us  up  with  unlimited  supplies  of 
acid.  It  was  hard  to  keep  from  laughing.  I  asked  him  one  ques- 

Oh,  you  know  why,  Tim.  Can  you  see  any  hope  for  this 
homicidal,  neurologically  crippled  species  other  than  a  mass 
religious  ecstatic  convulsion?  Okay.  How  much  do  you  want? 

We  can  get  rid  of  200  grams  in  a  year.  That's  2  million 

Dr.  Spaulding  nodded.  Fine.  You'll  receive  a  four-year  sup- 
ply—a thousand  grams  in  the  next  few  weeks.  Each  package  will 
contain  100  grams  of  LSD  powder.  Get  scales  to  put  it  in  doses. 
Keep  it  sterile.  Alcohol  or  even  vodka.  Dilute  it  down.  If  you 
can't  get  a  pill  machine,  dilute  it  down  and  drop  it  on  sugar 

God's  Secret  Agent  A.0.S.3  [  285 

He  started  the  car  and  drove  back  to  my  hotel.  How  many 
people  are  you  distributing  to  this  way?  Not  many,  he  answered. 
In  chemistry,  every  process  has  to  develop  at  its  own  natural 
tempo.  We  have  enough  LSD  stored  now  to  keep  every  living 
American  turned  on  for  several  years. 

That  was  the  only  time  I  met  Dr.  Spaulding.  A  week  later  the 
acid  began  arriving  at  Millbrook— in  brown  manila  envelopes 
and  hollowed-out  books  mailed  from  different  cities  throughout 
the  country.  In  hardly  any  time  at  all  we  had  given  away  10 
million  doses. 

It  was  ten  in  the  evening  by  now.  Rosemary  and  I  were 
starved.  A.O.S.3  was  still  too  high  to  he  hungry,  hut  He  was 
responding  telepathically  to  our  stomach  pangs.  Organic  matter 
nihhling  the  granite,  each  life  form  eating  each  other.  Endless 
transformation  of  energy.  Galaxies  feeding  each  other. 

Alchemist,  do  us  a  favor  and  don't  mention  eating,  okay?  We 
haven't  had  supper  yet. 

He  was  spinning  us  along  an  epic-poem  trip  through  the 
levels  of  creation.  He  can  really  tell  it.  I've  studied  with  the 
wisest  sages  of  our  times— Huxley,  Heard,  Lama  Govinda,  Sri 
Krishna  Prem,  Alan  Watts— and  I  have  to  say  that  A.O.S.3, 
college  flunk-out,  who  never  wrote  anything  hetter  (or  worse) 
than  a  few  ruhher  checks,  has  the  hest  up-to-date  perspective  of 
the  divine  design  I've  ever  listened  to. 

To  hegin  with,  He  hegins  where  they  all  hegin—at  the  begin- 
ning. He  had  taken  the  full  LSD  trip,  hurled  down  through  His 
cellular  reincarnations,  disintegrated  heyond  life  into  pulsing 
electron  grids,  whirled  down  heyond  atomic  form  to  that  uni- 
tary center  that  is  one,  pure,  radiant  humming  vibration.  Yin. 
Yin.  Yin.  Yang.  Yang.  Yang. 

His  face  was  glowing,  and  He  was  screaming  that  full-throated 
God  cry  that  was  torn  from  the  lungs  of  Moses  and  shrieked  by 
San  Juan  de  la  Cruz  and  which  Rosemary  and  I  heard  most 
recently  just  after  our  sunrise  wedding  on  the  desert  mountain 
top  bellowed  by  the  bone-tissue-hlood  trumpet  of  Ted  Marck- 
land—the  eternal,  unmistakable  cry  of  the  man  who  has  heard 
God's  voice  and  shouted  back  in  joyous,  insane  acceptance.  If 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  286 

you've  ever  opened  your  ears  to  anyone  who  has  surrendered, 
wide-eyed,  to  the  sound  of  God,  you  know  what  I  mean. 

He  shook  his  head  and  laughed.  I  can't  say  it  in  words.  God, 
man,  I've  got  to  learn  a  musical  instrument  so  I  can  really  say 
what  it  sounds  like. 

Yes,  A.O.S.3  carries  the  official  stamp  on  His  skin's  passport 
that  He  has  been  where  all  the  great  mystics  have  been— that 
point  where  you  see  it  all  and  hear  it  all  and  know  it  all  belongs 
together.  But  how  can  you  describe  an  electronic  rhythm  of 
which  5  billion  years  of  our  planetary  evolution  is  just  one  beat? 
He  is  in  the  same  position  as  every  returned  visionary— grab- 
bing at  ineffective  words.  But  check  His  prophetic  credentials. 
High  native  intelligence  coupled  with  a  photographic  memory. 
Solid  grasp  of  electronics.  Absorbed  biological  texts.  Knows 
computer  theory.  Has  hung  out  with  the  world's  top  orientalists 
and  Hindu  scholars.  Has  lived  with  and  designed  amplifiers  for 
the  farthest-out  rock  band,  the  Dateful  Gread.  As  a  sniffing, 
alert,  inquisitive  mammal  of  the  twentieth  century.  He  has 
poked  His  quivering,  whiskered  nose  into  all  the  dialects  and 
systems  by  which  man  attempts  to  explain  the  divine. 

Throughout  history  the  alchemist  has  always  been  a  magical, 
awesome  figure.  The  potion.  The  elixir.  The  secret  formulary. 
Experimental  metaphysics.  Those  old  alchemists  weren't  really 
trying  to  transmute  lead  to  gold.  That's  just  what  they  told  the 
federal  agents.  They  were  actually  looking  for  the  philosopher's 
stone.  The  waters  of  life.  The  herb,  root,  vine,  seed,  fruit, 
powder  that  would  turn  on,  tune  in  and  drop  out. 

And  every  generation  or  so,  someone  would  rediscover  the 
key.  And  the  key  is  always  chemical.  Consciousness  is  a  chemical 
process.  Learning,  sensing,  remembering,  forgetting  are  altera- 
tions in  a  biochemical  book.  Life  is  chemical.  Matter  is  chemical. 

His  bells  jingling  as  He  gesticulates.  Everything  is  hooked 
together  with  electrons.  And  if  you  study  how  electrons  work, 
you  learn  how  everything  is  hooked  up.  You  are  close  to  God. 
Chemistry  is  applied  theology. 

The  alchemist-shaman-wizard-medicine  man  is  always  a 
fringe  figure.  Never  part  of  the  conventional  social  structure.  It 

God's  Secret  Agent  A.0.S.3  [  287 

has  to  be.  In  order  to  listen  to  the  shuttling,  whispering,  ancient 
language  of  energy  (long  faint  sighs  across  the  millennia) ,  you 
have  to  shut  out  the  noise  of  the  marketplace.  You  flip  yourself 
out  deliberately.  Voluntary  holy  alienation.  You  can't  serve 
God  and  Caesar.  You  just  can't. 

That's  why  the  wizards  who  have  guided  and  inspired  human 
destiny  by  means  of  revelatory  vision  have  always  been  socially 
suspect.  Always  outside  the  law.  Holy  outlaws.  Reckless,  cour- 
ageous outlaws.  Folklore  has  it  that  43  federal  agents  were 
assigned  to  His  case  before  He  was  arrested  on  the  day  before 
Christmas,  1967.  They  have  to  stop  this  wild  man  with  jingling 
bells  or  He'll  turn  on  the  whole  world.  His  Christmas  acid 
could  have  stopped  the  war. 

Messianic  certainty.  A.O.S.3  is  the  most  moralistic  person  I 
have  ever  met.  Everything  is  labeled  good  or  bad.  Every  human 
activity  is  either  right  or  wrong.  He  is,  in  short,  a  nagging, 
preaching,  intolerable  puritan.  Right  to  Him  is  what  is  natural, 
healthy,  harmonious.  Right  gets  you  high.  Wrong  brings  you 

Meat  is  good.  Man  is  a  carnivorous  animal,  but  eat  your  meat 

Vegetables  are  bad.  They  are  for  smoking,  not  eating.  God 
(or  the  DNA  code)  designed  ruminants  and  cud  chewers  to  eat 
leaves.  And  man  to  eat  their  flesh. 

Psychedelic  drugs  are  good. 

Alcohol  is  bad.  Unhealthy,  dulling,  damaging  to  the  brain.  A 
*'down"  trip.  He  explains  this  in  ominous  chemical  warnings.  I 
always  feel  guilty  drinking  a  beer  in  front  of  him. 

Showers  are  good.  Clean. 

Baths  are  bad.  You  soak  in  your  own  dirt,  and  your  soft  pores 
sponge  up  foul  debris,  in  a  lukewarm  liquid,  an  ideal  nutrient 
for  germs. 

Rock  *n'  roll  is  good. 

Science  fiction  is  bad.  Screws  up  your  head.  Takes  you  on 
weird  trips. 

Long  hair  is  good.  Sign  of  a  free  man. 

Short  hair  is  bad.  Mark  of  a  prisoner,  a  cop,  or  a  wage  slave. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  288 

Smoking  is  bad. 

Marijuana  is  good. 

Sex  is  good. 

Sexual  abstinance  is  insane. 

He  is  now  sitting  against  the  wall,  talking  quietly.  The  red 
glow  flickers  on  His  round  glasses.  He  is  a  mad  saint. 

At  the  higher  levels  of  energy,  beyond  even  the  electronic, 
there  is  no  form.  Form  is  pure  energy  limiting  itself.  Form  is 

On  one  trip  they  (I'll  refer  to  "they"  for  lack  of  a  better 
term) ,  the  higher  intelligence,  beckoned  me  to  leave  the  living 
form  and  to  merge  with  the  eternal  formless  which  is  all  form, 
and  I  was  tempted.  Eternal  ecstasy.  But  I  declined  regretfully.  I 
wanted  to  stay  in  this  form  for  a  while  longer. 


Oh,  to  make  love.  Balling  is  such  a  friendly,  tender,  human 
thing  to  do. 

How  about  eating? 

Oh,  yes,  that's  tender,  too. 

Okay.  Let's  go  to  a  restaurant. 

Owsley  is  a  highly  conscious  man.  He  is  aware  at  all  times  of 
who  he  is  and  what's  what.  Aware  of  his  mythic  role.  Aware  of 
his  past  incarnations.  Aware  of  his  animal  heritage  which  he 
wears,  preeningly  and  naturally,  like  a  pure  forest  creature.  His 
sense  of  smell.  Owsley  carefully  selects  and  blends  perfumes  for 
himself  and  his  friends.  Your  nose  always  recognizes  Owsley. 
Oh,  some  sandalwood,  a  dash  of  musk,  a  touch  of  lotus,  a  taste 
of  civet. 

/  talked  to  Him  once  on  the  phone  after  a  session.  He  was  in 
His  customary  state  of  intense  excitement.  ^'Listen,  man,  I  saw 
clearly  my  mystic  Karmic  assignment.  I  am  Merlin.  I'm  a  mis- 
chievous alchemist.  A  playful  redeemer.  My  essence  name  is 

Like  any  successful  wizard,  A.O.S.3  is  a  good  scientist.  Radar- 
sensitive  in  His  observations.  Exacting,  meticulous,  pedantic 
about  His  procedures.  He  has  grandiose  delusions  about  the 
quality  of  His  acid.  "Listen,  man,  LSD  is  a  delicate,  fragile 
molecule.  It  responds  to  the  vibrations  of  the  chemist." 

God's  Secret  Agent  A.0.S.3  [  289 

He  judges  acid  and  other  psychedelics  with  the  fussy,  patron- 
izing skill  of  a  Bordeaux  wine  taster.  He  is  less  than  kind  to 
upstart  rival  alchemists.  But  no  jeweler,  goldsmith,  painter, 
sculptor,  was  ever  more  scrupulous  about  aesthetic  perfection 
than  A.O.S.3. 

And  like  any  good  journeyman-messiah.  His  sociological  and 
political  perceptions  are  arrow  straight.  As  do  all  turned-on 
persons,  A.O.S.3  agonizes  over  the  pollution  of  the  living 
fabric.  He,  as  well  as  anyone,  sees  the  mechanization.  The 

Metal  is  good.  It  performs  its  own  technical  function.  Metal 
has  individuality,  soul. 

Plastics  are  evil.  Plastic  copies  the  form  of  plant,  mineral, 
metal,  flesh  but  has  no  soul. 

Owsley's  life  is  a  fierce  protest  against  the  sickness  of  our 
times  which  inverts  man  and  nature  into  frozen,  brittle  plastic. 
Only  a  turned-on  chemist  can  appreciate  the  horror,  the  ulti- 
mate blasphemous  horror  of  plastic. 

Owsley  is  unique.  He  is  himself.  His  life  is  a  creative  struggle 
for  individuality.  He  longs  for  a  social  group,  a  linkage  of  minds 
modeled  after  the  harmonious  collaboration  of  cells  and  organs 
of  the  body.  He  wants  to  be  the  brains  of  a  social  love  body.  The 
ancient  Utopian  hunger.  Only  a  turned-on  chemist  can  appreci- 
ate God's  protein  plan  for  society. 

A.O.S.3  is  that  rare  species,  a  realized,  living,  breathing, 
smelling,  balling,  laughing,  working,  scolding  man.  A  ridicu- 
lous, conceited  fool,  God's  fool,  dreaming  of  ways  to  make  us  all 
happy,  to  turn  us  all  on,  to  love  us  and  be  loved. 



M.I.T.  Is  T.I.M.  Spelled  Backward* 

It  was  a  beautiful  autumn  Saturday,  with  the  leaves  at  their 
psychedelic  best,  as  we  drove  up  to  the  large  mansion  which  Dr. 
Leary  and  his  30  religious  cohorts  call  home.  We  arrived  as  a 
house  meeting  was  breaking  up. 

Dr.  Leary  was  in  his  normal  dress  {white  shirt,  white  slacks 
and  red  socks)  and  was  quite  warm  and  receptive.  A  half-hour 
delay  before  the  interview  gave  us  time  to  take  in  his  home  and 
meet  some  of  the  workers,  who  were  preparing  for  the  up- 
coming Tuesday  celebration  at  New  York's  Village  Theater. 

The  house  was  beautifully  well  kept,  with  a  minimum  of 
traditional  furniture  and  a  pleasant  abundance  of  creative  art- 
work all  around.  The  faded  tapestries  of  a  fiower-type  design 
that  had  covered  the  walls  for  decades  were  attractively  reno- 
vated with  bright  paint  in  many  colors.  Even  the  pay  phone  in 
the  stairwell  was  painted  in  weird  green  swirls.  On  the  wall 
next  to  the  door  on  the  way  out  was  an  appropriate  sign  saying, 
"Those  who  don't  know  talk,  and  those  who  know  don't  talk." 

The  house  was  alive  with  small  children,  whose  presence 
added  all  the  more  vitality  to  the  place.  The  older  workers, 
most  of  them  our  age,  seemed  generally  affable,  good-humored 
and  well-educated,  and  certainly  dedicated  to  their  artistic  and 
religious  endeavors. 

After  a  pleasant  buffet  of  apple  cider  and  nonpsychedelic 
mushrooms  over  rice  with  salad.  Dr.  Leary  came  down  and  in- 

*  An  interview  conducted  by  Jean  Smith  and  Cynthia  White  for  Innisfree,  the 
MIT  monthly  journal  of  inquiry,  published  by  Massachusetts  Institute  of 
Technology  students. 

[  290 


The  Great  Debate 

Kresg*   Auditorium,  M.I.T. 

Moy  3,  1967 

^oL  fff  W^  i 

The  Leary-Littwin  LSD  debate  was  transcribed  in  the 
M.LT.  journal  Innisfree  (1967). 

T/M  LEARY'5  fURN  ON/  TUNE  IN/DROP  OUT  1st  installment    Page  5 

VOL.1  Na  12  t.~«T^t~v*,o*.,-  MAY15-JUNE1 

^uc  ouisiue  nyc  i^v 


*Tum  On/  Tune  In/  Drop  Out")  Front  page  of 
The  East  Village  Other  (May  15- June  1, 1966). 

M.I.T.  Is  T.I.M.  Spelled  Backward  [  291 

vited  us  into  his  office.  The  half-hour  downstairs  had  broadened 
our  perspectives,  but  the  greatest  broadening  was  yet  to  come. 

Innisfree:  Dr.  Leary,  one  of  your  comments  in  your  Playboy 
interview  was  that  if  you  take  LSD  in  a  nuthouse,  you  will  have 
a  nuthouse  experience.  The  modern  student  seems  to  be  in  a  rat 
race  and  may  not  feel  he  can  spare  more  than  a  day,  say  a 
Saturday,  for  a  "trip."  If  a  student  were  to  take  LSD  in  this  rat 
race  environment,  would  he  have  a  rat  race  experience? 

Leary:  Well,  you're  asking  for  a  wild  generalization.  No  one 
should  take  LSD  unless  he's  well  prepared,  unless  he  knows 
what  he's  getting  into,  unless  he's  ready  to  go  out  of  his  mind; 
and  his  session  should  be  in  a  place  which  will  facilitate  a  posi- 
tive, serene  reaction,  and  with  someone  whom  he  trusts  emo- 
tionally and  spiritually. 

Innisfree:  When  you  were  experimenting  at  Harvard,  did 
you  find  that  students  were  less  prepared  to  go  out  of  their 

Leary:  Well,  I  never  gave  drugs  to  any  student  at  Harvard, 
contrary  to  rumor.  We  did  give  psychedelic  drugs  to  many 
graduate  students,  young  professors,  and  researchers  at  Harvard. 
These  people  were  very  well  trained  and  prepared  for  the  ex- 
perience. They  were  doing  it  for  a  serious  purpose,  that  is,  to 
learn  more  about  consciousness,  the  game  of  mastering  this 
technique  for  their  own  personal  life  and  for  their  professional 

Innisfree:  Did  you  ever  publish  any  of  your  findings  from 
your  Harvard  stay? 

Leary:  Yes,  we  have  published  over  35  scholarly  and  scien- 
tific articles.  Many  of  these  were  based  on  our  Harvard  studies: 
statistical  studies,  questionnaire  studies,  descriptions  of  our  re- 
habilitation work  with  prisoners,  experimental  work  in  produc- 
ing visionary  and  mystical  experiences,  and  so  forth. 

Innisfree:  One  of  the  greatest  areas  of  controversy  in  regard 
to  LSD  is  that  many  people  fear.  Professor  Teuber  at  MIT  for 
one,  that  from  taking  LSD  you  might  have  recurrences  of  the 
psychosis  without  further  ingestion  of  the  drug.  Would  you  like 
to  comment  on  this? 

Leary:  Number  one,  I  can't  agree  with  the  word  psychosis. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  292 

The  aim  of  taking  LSD  is  to  develop  yourself  spiritually  and  to 
open  up  greater  sensitivity.  Therefore  the  aim  should  be  to 
continue  after  the  session  the  exciting  process  you  have  begun. 
We're  delighted  when  people  tell  us  that  after  their  LSD  ses- 
sions they  can  recapture  some  of  the  illumination  and  the 
meaning  and  the  beauty.  Psychiatrists  think  they  are  creating 
psychoses;  therefore,  they  would  be  alarmed  at  having  the  ex- 
perience persist.  We  know  that  we  are  producing  religious  ex- 
periences, and  we  and  our  subjects  aim  to  have  those  experi- 
ences endure.  And  if  Professor  Teuber's  worried  about  the  fact 
that  nobody  knows  exactly  what  LSD  does,  and  I  share  that 
worry,  we  must  realize  that  scientifically  we  are  not  sure  of  what 
thousands  of  energies  which  we  ingest  or  surround  ourselves  by 
are  doing:  gas  fumes,  DDT,  penicillin,  tranquilizers.  Nobody 
knows  how  these  work,  what  effects  they'll  have  not  only  on  the 
individual  but  also  on  the  genetic  structure  of  the  species. 
There  are  risks  involved  whenever  you  take  LSD.  Nobody 
should  take  LSD  unless  he  know's  he's  going  into  the  unknown. 
He's  laying  his  blue  chips  on  the  line.  He's  tampering  with  that 
most  delicate  and  sacred  of  all  instruments,  the  human  brain. 
You  should  know  that.  But  you  know  that  you're  taking  a  risk 
every  time  you  breathe  the  air,  every  time  you  eat  the  food  that 
the  supermarkets  are  putting  out,  every  time  you  fall  in  love  for 
that  matter. 

Life  is  a  series  of  risks.  We  insist  only  that  the  person  who 
goes  into  it  knows  that  it's  a  risk,  knows  what's  involved,  and  we 
insist  also  that  we  have  the  right  to  take  that  risk.  No  paternal- 
istic society  and  no  paternalistic  profession  like  medicine  has 
the  right  to  prevent  us  from  taking  that  risk.  If  you  listen  to 
neurologists  and  psychiatrists,  you'd  never  fall  in  love. 

Innisfree:  A  friend  of  ours  told  us  that  he  had  recurring 
hallucinations  at  a  time  when  he  really  didn't  want  them  and 
didn't  expect  them.  Are  these  uncontrollable  replays  common? 

Leary:  I  think  that  everyone  who  takes  LSD  is  permanently 
changing  his  consciousness.  That  is,  there  are  going  to  be  recur- 
rent memories  and  recurrent  reactions  when  you  hear  the  same 
music,  when  you're  with  the  same  people,  when  you  walk  into 

M.I.T.  Is  T.I.M.  Spelled  Backward  [  293 

the  same  room.  Any  stimulation  may  set  off  a  memory.  Now  a 
memory  is  a  live,  chemical-molecular  event  in  your  nervous 
system.  When  you  take  LSD,  you're  changing  that  system  to  a 
small  degree.  Now  most  people  are  delighted  when  this  happens. 

In  any  thousand  people,  or  perhaps  hundred,  there's  a  profes- 
sional full-time  worrier.  Now  when  this  person  takes  LSD,  he's 
going  to  wonder  if  he's  going  crazy,  he's  going  to  worry  that  he's 
insane,  he's  going  to  worry  about  brain  damage,  he's  going  to 
worry  about  controlling  it.  Worriers,  of  course,  are  people  who 
want  to  have  everything  under  control.  And  life  is  not  under 
control.  Life  is  a  spontaneous,  undisciplined,  unsupervised 
event.  Your  worrying  person  is  going  to  lay  his  worrying  ma- 
chinery on  LSD. 

Innisfree:  You  mentioned  religion  a  few  minutes  ago.  Pro- 
fessor Huston  Smith  of  MIT  has  suggested  that  the  drug-induced 
religious  experience  may  not  be  a  truly  genuine  one. 

Leary:  You're  now  sitting  in  a  religious  center.  About  30 
people  are  devoting  their  lives  and  energies  to  a  full-time 
pursuit  of  the  Divinity  through  the  sacrament  of  LSD.  You're 
calling  our  sacramental  experience  psychotic.  LSD,  the  psy- 
chedelic experience,  is  a  religious  experience.  It  can  be  if  the 
person  is  looking  for  it,  and  can  be  if  the  person  is  not  looking 
for  it  and  doesn't  want  it.  Professor  Smith  has  on  several  occa- 
sions stated  his  belief  that  the  drug-induced  experience  is  a  re- 
ligious experience.  He  has  questions,  as  I  understand  it,  about 
how  this  can  be  used  and  how  well  we  are  applying  our  reli- 
gious experiences,  but  he  does  not  doubt  that  they  are  religious 
experiences.  Now  the  religious  experience  is  beyond  any  creed 
or  ritual,  any  myth  or  metaphor.  People  use  different  interpre- 
tations, different  metaphors  to  describe  their  religious  experi- 
ence. A  Christian  person  will  take  LSD  and  report  it  in  terms  of 
the  Christian  vocabulary.  Buddhists  will  do  likewise. 

Innisfree:  Is  it  true  that  you  yourself  are  Hindu? 

Leary:  Our  religious  philosophy,  or  our  philosophy  about 
the  spiritual  meaning  of  LSD,  comes  closer  to  Hinduism  than  to 
any  other.  Hinduism— again,  it  is  difficult  to  define  Hinduism- 
recognizes  the  divinity  of  all  manifestations  of  life,  physical. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  294 

physiological,  chemical,  biological,  and  so  forth.  So  that  the 
Hindu  point  of  view  allows  for  a  wide  scope  of  subsects.  To  a 
Hindu,  Catholicism  is  a  form  of  Hinduism. 

Innisfree:  Your  descriptions  of  the  psychedelic  experience 
sound  very  much  like  Hermann  Hesse's  Siddhartha.  How  much 
have  you  been  influenced  by  his  writings? 

Leary:  We've  been  influenced  very  much  by  Hermann  Hesse's 
writings.  Of  course,  once  you  finally  get  into  the  field  of  con- 
sciousness, in  the  philosophic  and  literary  interpretations  of  the 
consciousness,  then  everyone  agrees.  Everyone  is  in  basic  agree- 
ment about  the  necessity  of  going  out  of  your  mind,  going 
within,  and  about  what  you  find  once  you  get  there.  The 
metaphors  change  from  culture  to  culture.  The  terminology  is 
different.  But  every  great  mystic  and  every  great  missionary 
reports  essentially  the  same  thing:  the  eternal  flow,  timeless 
series  of  evolutions,  and  so  forth,  and  Hermann  Hesse  is  one  of 
the  great  visionary  spokesmen  of  the  twentieth  century.  We 
made  it  very  explicit  in  our  first  psychedelic  celebration  in  New 
York  that  we  were  addressing  ourselves  to  the  intellectual  who 
is  entrapped  in  his  mind,  and  we  were  using  as  our  bible  for 
that  first  celebration  Steppenwolf,  by  Hermann  Hesse.  The 
next  psychedelic  celebration  was  based  on  the  life  of  Christ,  and 
we  used  the  Catholic  missal  as  the  manual  for  that.  But  each  one 
of  these  great  myths  is  based  on  a  psychedelic  experience,  a 
death-rebirth  sequence. 

Innisfree:  Is  each  of  these  sessions  supposed  to  appeal  to  a 
different  kind  of  person? 

Leary:  Each  celebration  will  take  up  one  of  the  greatest 
religious  traditions.  And  we  attempt  to  turn  on  everyone  to  that 
religion.  And  we  hope  that  anyone  that  comes  to  all  of  our 
celebrations  will  discover  the  deep  meaning  that  exists  in  each 
of  these.  But  in  addition  to  that,  we  hope  that  the  Christian  will 
be  particularly  turned  on  by  our  Catholic  LSD  mass,  because  it 
will  renew  for  him  the  metaphor  which  for  most  of  us  has 
become  rather  routine  and  tired. 

Innisfree:  Where  did  you  get  for  your  foundation  the  name 

M.I.T.  Is  T.I.M.  Spelled  Backward  [  295 

Leary:  Castalia  was  taken  from  Hermann  Hesse's  novel 
Magister  Ludi.  The  Castalia  brotherhood  in  that  novel  was  one 
of  scientist-scholars  who  were  attempting  to  bring  together  vi- 
sionary mysticism  and  modem  science  and  scholarship.  They 
would  also  meditate  and  use  the  techniques  of  the  East  in  order 
to  bring  together  the  bead  game  itself,  a  means  of  weaving  to- 
gether poetry,  music,  mathematics,  science,  and  unifying  them. 
We  attempt  to  do  the  same.  Our  psychedelic  celebrations  and 
the  lectures  that  Dr.  Metzner  and  I  have  been  giving  in  the  last 
two  years  are  very  much  like  the  bead  game.  We  attempt  to 
weave  together  modern  techniques  like  electronics  and  modern 
scientific  theories,  pharmacology  and  biogenetics,  with  many 
different  forms  of  Eastern  psychology.  It's  very  clearly  a  bead 
game  that  we  are  weaving  in  these  celebrations.  The  aim  is  to 
turn  on  not  just  the  mind,  but  to  turn  on  the  sense  organs,  and 
even  to  talk  to  people's  cells  and  ancient  centers  of  wisdom. 

Innisfree:  Yet,  a  lot  of  your  beliefs  do  borrow  from  other 
cultures.  Wouldn't  exposure  to  these  other  ways  of  thinking 
make  your  religion  more  meaningful? 

Leary:  Well,  I  was  born  in  the  twentieth  century.  I  can't 
wipe  out  my  whole  personal  background  or  change  the  fact  that 
almost  everyone  I  talk  to  today  is  brain-damaged  by  our  educa- 
tion. We're  all  crippled.  We  have  to  accept  the  fact  that  in 
primary  school  we  fell  into  the  hands  of  addictive  drug  pushers, 
namely  teachers.  They've  crippled  us.  That's  part  of  karma. 

Every  historical  era  has  its  own  particular  trap  which  drives 
man  away  from  his  divinity  and  puts  him  on  the  outside,  and 
every  historical  era  has  its  own  sacrament,  or  its  own  method,  of 
dealing  with  it.  The  DNA  code  is  an  impressively  resilient  and 
impressive  blueprinting  process.  It  always  produces  the  protein 
molecules  that  are  necessary  to  adapt  to  the  particular  evolu- 
tionary bind  it  has  actually  trapped  itself  in.  Evolution  is  a 
series  of  accidental  surprises. 

The  genetic  code  is  infinite  in  its  variation  and  wisdom,  and 
always  comes  out  with  the  right  answer;  and  exactly  the  right 
answer  for  the  particular  neurological  disease  that  man  has  been 
plagued  by  for  the  last  1,000  years  is  LSD.  You  see,  3,000  or 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  296 

4,000  years  ago,  LSD  wouldn't  have  been  necessary.  Man  was  in 
touch.  He  was  harmoniously  dancing  along  with  the  change  in 
the  planets,  the  change  in  the  seasons.  He  was  in  touch,  he  was 
in  tune,  he  was  turned  on.  LSD  existed  in  natural  form.  LSD 
has  been  in  morning  glory  seeds  for  hundreds  of  thousands  of 
years.  But  until  now  it  hasn't  been  necessary  to  use  because  you 
wouldn't  have  had  to  have  the  effect. 

Innisfree:  You  don't  feel  that  the  LSD  culture  is  compatible 
with  American  culture  now,  then? 

Leary:  I  don't  think  the  American  culture  is  compatible 
with  anything.  Certainly  not  with  anything  that's  been  going  on 
in  this  planet  since  the  origin  of  life.  The  American  culture  is 
an  insane  asylum.  You  take  for  granted  such  things  as  race 
prejudice,  the  Protestant  work  culture,  the  professional  bu- 
reaucracy which  exists  in  this  country,  the  complete  loss  of 
euphoria  which  has  developed  in  the  past  fifty  years.  Dropping 
bombs  on  natives  of  Vietnam— well,  that's  just  like  a  head  cold. 
I  mean,  that's  the  way  it's  supposed  to  be.  It's  the  current  symp 
tom  of  our  insanity. 

LSD  and  the  LSD  cult  is  perfectly  in  tune  with  the  wisdom  of 
the  Buddha  or  the  great  philosophies  of  the  past.  The  Buddha 
could  walk  up  this  road  to  our  house  here  at  Millbrook,  and 
he'd  see  the  signs  of  his  profession  because  we  belong  to  the 
same  profession,  people  who  are  changing  consciousness,  who 
are  pursuing  the  eternal  quest.  He  would  walk  in  this  house  and 
he'd  be  much  more  at  home  here  than  he  would  be  in  hardly 
any  house  in  the  United  States  because  we're  in  touch  with  him. 
We're  in  touch  with  the  basic  cellular  and  sensory  and  physical 
aspects  of  man. 

There  are  three  processes  involved  that  every  spiritual 
teacher  has  passed  onto  mankind  for  the  past  thousand  years. 
Look  within,  have  the  revelation,  and  then  express  it  in  acts  of 
glorification  on  the  outside  and  detach  yourself  from  the  cur- 
rent tribe.  We  use  the  six-word  motto  "Turn  on,  tune  in,  drop 
out."  Now  after  you  turn  on,  you  don't  spend  the  rest  of  your 
life  in  an  LSD  state,  just  contemplating  the  inner  wonders.  You 
begin  immediately  expressing  your  revelation  in  acts  of  beauty 

M.I.T.  Is  T.I.M.  Spelled  Backward  [  297 

without.  That's  what  we're  doing  in  the  Village  Theater  in 
New  York.  Every  Tuesday  night,  people  come  there  and  we 
stone  them  out  of  their  minds. 

Innisfree:  What  about  LSD? 

Leary:  Well,  it's  always  biochemical.  In  order  to  do  anything 
new,  you  have  to  change  your  nervous  system  biochemically. 
Now  you  can  do  it  through  breathing,  fasting,  flagellation, 
dancing,  solitude,  diet.  You  can  do  it  through  any  sense  organ- 
visual,  auditory,  and  so  forth.  There  are  hundreds  of  ways  of 
turning  on.  But  at  the  present  time,  man  is  so  sick  that  there  are 
very  few  people  who  can  use  these  ancient  methods,  so  that 
today  it  is  safe  to  say  that  drugs  are  the  specific,  and  almost  the 
only,  way  that  the  American  is  ever  going  to  have  a  religious 

And  our  Tuesday  night  celebrations  do  not  take  the  place  of 
the  sacrament.  The  sacramental  process  in  our  religion  is  the 
use  of  marijuana  and  LSD;  and  nothing  can  substitute  for  that. 
There's  a  way  of  training  people,  and  a  way  of  teaching  people, 
and  a  way  of  demonstrating  to  people  what  the  psychedelic 
does.  We  have  these  public  celebrations. 

Innisfree:  You  don't  seem,  then,  to  be  advocating  the  use  of 
LSD  for  simple  "kicks." 

Leary:  I  don't  know  what  you  mean  by  "kicks."  We  feel 
about  LSD  the  way  a  Catholic  priest  feels  about  his  host.  He 
doesn't  want  to  have  his  host  sold  in  vending  machines.  He 
doesn't  want  to  have  his  sacred  host  in  the  hands  of  doctors  to 
decide  who's  going  to  use  it.  He  wants  his  host  to  be  given  by 
trained  priests  or  guides  in  the  temple.  We  feel  exactly  the  same 
about  LSD.  Now,  the  Catholic  host  should  indeed  give  you  a 
kick.  LSD  will  give  you  a  kick.  The  kick  to  me  means  an  ecstatic 
revelation.  I  don't  know  what  a  kick  means  to  you.  To  you  a 
kick  may  mean  going  to  a  cocktail  party  in  Cambridge  and 
flirting  with  some  girl.  A  kick  to  me  means  flirtation— con- 
frontation—with  God.  Of  course,  in  our  puritan  society,  the 
word  kick  is  a  negative  term.  We're  such  robots  that  we  think 
the  only  thing  we  should  do  in  life  is  work,  get  power,  and  use 
this  power  to  control  other  people.  In  any  sane  society,  the  word 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [298 

kick  could  be  the  ideal.  Kick  is  the  ecstacy;  it  means  going 
beyond,  confronting  God,  getting  out  of  your  mind. 

Innisfree:  What  would  LSD  achieve,  though,  that  conscien- 
tious Hindu-like  meditation— if  we  were  capable  of  it— could 
not  achieve? 

Leary:  If  meditation  works,  it  will  get  you  the  same  place 
that  LSD  will.  But  only  one  person  in  a  hundred  thousand  can 
do  it  through  meditation. 

Innisfree:  Even  to  what  you  call  the  precellular  level  of 

Leary:  Well,  certainly  the  Buddha,  and  certainly  the  writ- 
ings of  the  Hindu  philosophers— the  Shiva  myths— were  written 
by  men  who  had  reached  the  cellular  level.  The  theory  of  rein- 
carnation in  Hinduism  is  a  perfect  metaphorical  and  poetic 
statement  of  the  DNA  code. 

Innisfree:  What  of  the  actual  biochemical  changes  that  are 
behind  the  psychedelic  experience? 

Leary:  Neurologists  do  not  understand  the  biochemistry  of 
consciousness.  They  don't  know  where  consciousness  is  located. 
Therefore,  the  answer  to  the  question  of,  "What  does  LSD  do?" 
has  to  await  a  breakthrough  in  neurology.  And  that  break- 
through in  neurology  will  come  when  neurologists  realize  that 
they  have  to  change  their  own  consciousness.  They're  not  going 
to  find  out  where  consciousness  is  located  by  putting  electrodes 
in  the  brains  of  animals  or  giving  LSD  to  animals  for  that 
matter.  The  breakthrough  in  neurology  is  going  to  come  when 
the  scientist  puts  his  eye  to  the  microscope;  and  the  microscope 
of  consciousness  is  your  own  nervous  system.  We  have  trained 
hundreds  of  young  graduate  students,  who  are  now  young  psy- 
chiatrists and  young  neurologists,  and  this  next  generation  of 
turned-on  scientists  will  produce  the  great  breakthrough  in 
neurology,  because  they  are  taking  the  drug  themselves. 

Innisfree:  Do  you  think  that  the  two  sciences  can  coexist  side 
by  side? 

Leary:  There's  a  perfect  dialogue  that  goes  on  between  outer 
and  inner.  It  doesn't  do  any  good  to  expand  your  consciousness 
unless  you  can  accurately  express  this  in  some  metaphorical  or 

M.I.T.  Is  T.I.M.  Spelled  Backward  [  299 

symbolic  form.  Now  the  problem  at  the  present  time  is  that  our 
society  and  our  intellectuals  and  our  scientists  completely  ex- 
ternalize the  psychology  of  behaviorism.  Neurology  today  is 
poking  at  the  brains  of  other  people.  We're  overbalanced  this 
way  today.  As  soon  as  psychiatrists  start  taking  LSD  or  more 
powerful  drugs  that  come  along,  they  will  be  tuning  in  on  an 
energy  process  that  will  then  help  them  write  better  equations. 
You  have  to  experience  what  you  are  symbolizing.  And  when  a 
symbol  system  gets  beyond  the  experience,  then  it  becomes  just 
a  chess  game. 

When  Einstein  first  worked  out  that  equation  E^MC^,  it  was 
a  very  powerful,  psychedelic  thing.  Literally  he  had  to  fall  down 
on  his  knees  at  that  moment  when  he  realized  that  all  matter 
was  energy  just  in  temporary  states  of  change,  that  there  was  no 
structure.  Of  course,  the  Hindu  philosophers  had  pointed  that 
out  for  a  thousand  years.  But  I  suspect  that  very  few  physicists 
experience  what  they  are  symbolizing. 

You  see,  that's  the  problem.  I  think  that  99  percent  of  the 
people  who  call  themselves  scientists,  including  99  percent  of 
the  people  at  your  institution,  are  not  really  scientists.  There 
are  never  more  than  a  hundred  people  who  deserve  the  term 
scientist  in  any  age.  The  rest  of  them  are  just  engineers  who  are 
simply  playing  out  one  little  aspect  of  a  metaphor,  of  a  visionary 
experience,  that  someone  had  in  the  past. 

Innisfree:  How  do  you  determine  whether  a  person  will 
become  psychotic  under  LSD?  Is  there  any  way  to  tell  who  had 
best  not  participate  in  this  religion?  Because  surely  not  every- 
one can. 

Leary:  Who's  to  decide?  I  would  say  that  at  present  our 
society  is  so  insane,  that  even  if  the  risks  were  fifty-fifty  that  if 
you  took  LSD  you  would  be  permanently  insane,  I  still  think 
that  the  risk  is  worth  taking,  as  long  as  the  person  knows  that 
that's  the  risk. 

There  is  a  complete  breakdown  in  assumption  here.  You're 
operating  from  a  psychiatric  metaphor,  and  I'm  operating  from 
a  religious  metaphor.  I  say  that  the  confrontation  with  divinity 
is  going  to  change  you,  and  there  are  some  people  who  are  in 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  300 

such  a  state  of  sin  that  they  don't  want  to  confront  divinity; 
they  freak  out.  Such  people  should  be  warned  that  if  you  come 
into  this  temple  you're  going  to  face  blazing  illumination  of  the 
divinity.  It's  going  to  change  you  completely;  you're  never 
going  to  be  the  same.  Do  you  want  to  do  it?  That's  what  they 
said  in  the  Eleusinian  Mysteries.  They  would  always  warn 
people,  *'If  you  go  in  here,  you  will  die.  You  and  all  of  your  past 
hang-ups,  sins  and  so  forth  are  going  to  be  laid  out  in  front  of 
you.  You're  going  to  have  to  confront  them,  strip  them  off  and 
be  a  changed  person.  Do  you  want  to  do  it?"  One  of  the  em- 
perors of  Rome— I  forget  which  one—came  and  wanted  to  be 
initiated  in  the  Eleusinian  Mysteries,  and  they  took  him  in  and 
said,  "This  is  what's  going  to  happen,"  and  he  said,  "That's 
interesting.  I  approve  of  what  you're  doing,  but  I  don't  want 
your  experience.  I  don't  want  to  be  changed."  As  long  as  the 
person  knows  what's  involved,  whatever  he  does  to  his  own  con- 
sciousness is  his  own  business.  And  the  fears  of  LSD  in  this 
society  existed  before  the  present  psychiatric  rumors  of  brain 
damage.  Everyone  is  afraid  to  take  LSD,  because  nobody  wants 
to  change.  Everyone  wants  to  keep  his  own  little  egocentric 
chess  game  going.  The  fear  of  LSD  is  the  same  fear  that  has  led 
to  the  persecution  of  people  doing  the  same  thing  I've  been 
doing  in  other  centuries  and  other  tribes.  It's  the  ancient  game 
of  the  law.  Three  hundred  years  ago  you'd  be  sitting  here  talk- 
ing with  me  about  the  devil.  In  Salem,  very  close  to  where  you 
go  to  college,  they  were  talking  about  witches.  The  fear  then 
was  in  terms  of  witches.  The  fear  of  those  who  are  anti-God— 
which  is  what  you  are— the  fear  is  always  expressed  in  the 
metaphor  of  the  time:  witches,  possessions,  devils,  and  so  forth. 

Innisfree:  You  have  no  fear  of  LSD? 

Leary:  I  didn't  say  that,  nor  would  I.  There's  everything  to 
fear.  You're  going  to  lose  your  mind. 

Innisfree:  Isn't  there  the  fear  of  taking  too  much? 

Leary:  There  is  no  lethal  dose  known  of  LSD.  LSD  is  a 
trigger  mechanism,  like  a  key.  So,  ten  times  the  normal  dose  of 
LSD  is  like  ten  keys  for  one  lock.  When  you  get  over  three 
hundred  gammas  of  LSD,  you  can  go  up  to  thirty  thousand 

M.I.T.  Is  T.I.M.  Spelled  Backward  [  301 

gammas— the  largest  dose  I  know  of— and  the  impact  is  a  little 
greater:  the  door  swings  open  a  little  faster.  But  it's  the  same 
effect.  You  see,  what  you're  confronting  is  your  own  two-billion- 
year-old  equipment  of  sense  organs,  cellular  wisdom,  protein 
memories.  They're  the  same.  Our  culture  is  so  hung  on  the 
external,  playing  the  numbers  game,  that  1,000  gammas  must 
be  twice  as  strong  as  500  gammas. 

Innisfree:  If  you  cannot  get  back  to  the  state  where  you  can 
contemplate  on  what  you  have  just  experienced,  wouldn't  you 
consider  that  bad? 

Leary:  The  problem  with  LSD  is  not  enduring  change.  The 
problem  is  that  it  doesn't  last  long  enough.  You  see,  if  LSD 
really  worked  the  way  these  fear  merchants  say  it  does,  it  would 
be  easy  to  use  it  to  change  personality.  If  it  changes  the  normal 
person  and  gives  him  hallucinations  afterward,  you  should  be 
able  to  take  the  criminal  and  the  alcoholic,  the  drug  addict,  and 
the  generally  mean  person  and  change  him  under  guidance. 
The  processes  of  neurological  imprinting  and  the  way  we  build 
up  our  conditioned  mental  processes  is  highly  resistant  to 
change.  If  you  take  LSD,  you  still  come  back  speaking  the  Eng- 
lish language  and  knowing  how  to  tie  your  shoe  lace.  The  prob- 
lem with  LSD  is  that  much  too  quickly  do  you  slip  back  into  the 
routine  ways  of  thinking.  That's  why,  if  you  take  LSD,  you 
should  take  it  many,  many  times,  and  you  should  plan  to  slowly 
change  your  environment  so  that  your  external  commitments 
are  keeping  up  to  your  internal  achievements.  It's  very  hard 
work  to  change  the  human  psychology,  even  with  LSD.  That 
should  give  comfort  to  the  frightened,  and  probably  anguish  to 
the  optimistic  like  myself.  Human  nature  is  so  resistant  to 

Innisfree:  Do  you  think  you  are  being  harassed  for  your 
unorthodox  beliefs? 

Leary:  I  don't  use  the  term  harassment,  and  I  have  no 
paranoid  theories  about  conspiracy.  The  game  I  am  involved  in 
is  set  out  with  exquisite  precision.  What  I  am  doing  has  been 
done  by  people  in  every  generation  in  the  past.  It's  like  the 
Harvard- Yale  game.  It's  played  out  every  year.  Now,  Harvard 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [302 

isn't  harassing  Yale.  The  game  between  those  who  know  that 
man  can  change  and  become  divine  in  this  lifetime  and  want  to 
teach  people  how  to  do  it  completely  threatens  the  establish- 
ment. In  every  generation  you  say,  "No,  it's  all  been  done  and 
settled,  and  just  get  your  good  lawyer-priest  and  do  what  we  tell 
you  to  do."  And  this  dialogue  between  the  establishment  and 
the  Utopian  visionaries  will  inevitably  exist  in  every  historical 

It's  played  fairly.  The  fact  that  they  want  to  hound  me  out  of 
existence  is  right.  They  should,  just  like  the  Harvard  defensive 
team  wants  to  throw  the  offensive's  quarterback  for  a  loss.  I 
have  no  complaint  about  this;  I'm  perfectly  good-humored 
about  it.  The  more  energy  that  is  directed  against  me,  the  more 
energy  that  is  available  for  me.  It's  the  perfect  physical  law  of 
jujitsu— the  more  government  and  professional  establishment 
dynamism  that  is  set  off  against  what  we're  doing  is  just  a  sign  to 
us  that  we're  doing  fine. 

Innisfree:  What  are  the  existing  restrictions  on  LSD  by  the 
federal  government? 

Leary:  The  federal  law  does  not  forbid  the  possession  and 
personal  use  of  LSD.  It  prohibits  the  manufacture  and  sale  of 
LSD  or  the  administering  of  it  to  someone.  There  are  some 
states— four  or  five,  of  which  New  York  State  is  one— which  out- 
law the  possession  of  LSD. 

Innisfree:  In  your  Playboy  interview  you  gave  the  exact 
number  of  LSD  sessions  you  had  taken.  You  record  each  session? 

Leary:  Yes,  I  keep  careful  record  of  each  session,  where,  and 
what  was  the  purpose  of  the  session. 

Innisfree:  And  do  you  write  down  a  description  of  the  ex- 
perience or  thoughts  that  came  to  you? 

Leary:  Yes,  most  of  the  time.  Not  always. 

Innisfree:  What  do  you  consider  more  valuable,  the  actual 
trip  or  the  contemplation  of  it  afterward? 

Leary:  It  goes  together.  One  without  the  other  is  rather 
meaningless.  But  again,  you  ask  if  I  write  it  down.  It's  more 
important  what  you  do  afterward;  after  a  session  we  may  go  out 
and  plant  a  new  garden,  after  a  session  we  may  change  a  room 

M.I.T.  Is  T.I.M.  Spelled  Backward  [  30S 

in  the  house,  after  a  session  we  may  throw  out  the  television  set, 
after  the  session  I  may  spend  the  next  five  hours  talking  quietly 
with  my  son.  The  intellectual  is  so  hung  up  on  the  disease  of 
words  that  nothing  exists  unless  he  writes  it  down.  The  human 
being  has  been  involved  in  this  adventure  for  thousands  of  years 
before  the  printing  press.  As  my  friend  Marshall  McLuhan  so 
eloquently  pointed  out— you  see,  whatever  I  say  today  about 
words  is  just  what  Marshall  McLuhan  said  in  his  book.  The 
Gutenberg  Galaxie— the  misuse  of  the  printing  press  is  one  of 
the  greatest  catastrophes  to  happen  to  the  human  nervous 
system.  It  has  forced  man  to  think  in  the  linear  subject-predi- 
cate fashion,  which  is  what  Marshall  McLuhan  and  I  are  at- 
tempting to  do  something  about,  and  which  modern  technical 
advances,  like  electronics,  and  psychochemicals  such  as  LSD, 
will  inevitably  change. 



The  Buddha  as  Drop-Ouf 

The  message  of  the  Buddha,  Gautama,  is  the  familiar,  ancient 
always  to-be-rediscovered  divine  instruction: 

Drop  out 

Turn  on 

Tune  in 

The  avatar,  the  divine  one,  is  he  who  discovers  and  lives  out 
this  rhythm  during  his  earthly  trip. 

The  life  of  the  Buddha,  Gautama,  is  simply  another  case  il- 
lustration in  the  venerable  library  of  tissue  manuals  on  "How 
to  Discover  Your  Own  Buddha-hood." 

Gautama  Sakyamuni  was  born  a  prince.  His  father,  the  king, 
and  his  mother,  the  queen,  were  determined  that  he  should 
carry  on  the  family  business  and  not  discover  his  divinity.  Ac- 
cording to  familiar  parental  tradition,  they  attempted  to  protect 
their  son  from  confronting  the  four  basic  dimensions  of  the 
human  time  span:  sickness,  age,  death,  and  the  existence  of 

*  This  article  was  written  in  response  to  a  request  from  Horizon  magazine, 
which  in  the  summer  of  1967  was  planning  an  issue  on  the  hippies. 

The  article  was  penciled  hastily  and  typed  by  the  author's  daughter,  who 
at  the  time  was  involved  in  a  mystical  removal  from  all  human  games  except 
the  mastery  of  touch  typing. 

Horizon  sent  a  check  for  $400  along,  with  a  note  of  puzzling  jocularity  about 
my  "frankness"  and  "honesty."  It  was  only  after  the  issue  was  published  (with- 
out "The  Buddha  as  Drop-Out")  and  after  reading  the  introduction  to  the 
issue  that  it  became  clear  that  the  editors  of  lost  Horizon  had  mirthlessly 
missed  the  point  of  the  article.  They  saw  it  as  confessional  rather  than  satirical. 
They  wanted  no  part  in  the  strategy  to  persuade  their  readers  to  become 

They  have  a  point,  Buddhas  don't  subscribe.  They  inscribe. 

[  304 

The  Buddha  as  Drop-Out  [  305 

eccentric,  barefoot  holy  men— alchemists  who  could  show  him 
how  to  solve  the  time  riddle  by- 
Dropping  out 

Turning  on 

Tuning  in 

The  truth  of  the  matter  is  that  the  Buddha  was  bom  and 
brought  up  in  Westchester  County,  educated  at  an  Ivy  League 
college  and  groomed  for  that  pinnacle  of  princely  success  which 
would  allow  him  in  1967  to  subscribe  to  Horizon,  a  magazine 
particularly  unlikely  to  confront  him  with  the  prospect  of  his 
own  divinity. 

First  Gautama  dropped  out.  Horrors!  Did  he  really  desert  his 
wife  and  child?  Run  out  on  the  palace  mortgage  payment? 
j Welsh  on  his  commitments  to  his  10,000  concubines?  Leave  the 
■Internal  Revenue  Service  holding  the  bag  for  the  Vietnam  War 
bill?  Maybe  he  just  moved  with  his  wife  and  kids  to  Big  Sur,  not 
even  leaving  a  forwarding  address  for  fourth-class  mail.  Lost 
Horizon.  Or  maybe  the  drop-out  was  internal  (where  it  always 
has  to  be) .  Maybe  he  just  detached  himself  invisibly  from  the 
old  fears  and  ambitions. 

After  his  drop-out  he  struggled  to  turn  on.  It's  never  easy, 
you  know,  to  turn  on.  He  memorized  the  Vedas.  Read  the 
Upanishads  and  the  Village  Voice  and  Alan  Watts  and  Krish- 
namurti.  Studied  at  the  feet  of  gurus.  Got  the  message.  "Sorry, 
young  man.  We  can't  teach  it.  Divinity  is  a  do-it-yourself  propo- 
sition, located  somewhere  inside  your  own  body." 

So  he  spent  several  years  practicing  lonely  austerities.  Diet 
and  physical  yoga.  Gave  up  smoking.  Ate  macrobiotic  rice.  Got 
thin.  Let  his  beard  grow.  Looked  holy  but  felt  wholly  terrible. 

One  day,  as  he  was  sitting  under  a  tree,  a  dairy  maid  offered 
him  a  bowl  of  milk  and  honey,  maybe  laced  with  mushroom 
juice.  It  was  a  forbidden,  dangerous  potion,  against  all  the  laws 
of  yoga  abstinence. 

Then  he  started  his  trip.  Session  delights.  The  marijuana 
miracle!  Vision!  Touch!  Smell!  Sound!  Beautiful!  Ecstasy!!! 
But  don't  get  caught,  Buddha!  All  the  manuals  warn  you! 
Center  your  mind!  Float  to  the  beginning! 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  306 

Next  came  the  sexual  visions.  Mara  the  devil  sent  his  naked 
daughters  to  entrance.  The  devil,  you  say?  Oh,  didn't  they  tell 
you  in  Bronxville  Sunday  School  and  the  comparative  religions 
seminar  at  Princeton  that  the  devil  is  part  of  your  own  mind 
that  wants  you  to  cop  out  and  sell  short  your  timeless  divinity? 
You're  a  junior  executive  now  with  the  narcotic  security  needle 
hooked  in  your  liberal  Republican  vein,  and  the  secretaries  at 
the  office  think  you're  cute  Mr.  Horizon-reading  Buddha.  But 
remember  the  teachings!  Enjoy  but  don't  chase  the  erotic  fanta- 
sies. Center! 

Then  came  the  terrors.  You'll  go  insane!  You'll  lose  your 
ambition!  Brain  damage!  Permanent  psychosis!  Bellevue  Hos- 
pital! Chromosome  destruction!  Jump  out  a  palace  window  I 
Who  are  you,  anyway?  Spoiled  prince,  arrogant  Brooks  Brothers 
Faust,  to  grab  with  greedy  hands  the  delicate  web  of  God? 
You're  crazy  now  and  will  never  get  back.  Help!  Paranoia!  Call 
the  court  physician!  Call  a  psychiatrist! 

But  Gautama  remembered  the  prayer.  He  centered  his  mind 
and  body.  He  spun  through  the  thousand  past  reincarnations. 
Tumbled  down  his  DNA  code  and  died,  merging  in  the  center 
of  the  solar,  lunar,  diamond,  peacock  eye  of  fire  that  men  call 
God.  Illumination. 

From  whence  he  looked  back  up  and  saw  the  fibrous  unfold- 
ing of  life  to  come,  all  past,  all  future,  hooked  up,  the  riddle  of 
time  and  mortality  solved  by  the  unitive,  turn-on  perspective. 

And  at  that  moment  of  highest  Samhadi,  Gautama  opened  his 
eyes  in  delight  and  wonder  at  the  paradise  rediscovered  by  his 
trip,  and  looked  around  and  said  that  great  line— "Wonder  of 
all  wonders,  all  men  are  the  Buddha." 

He  had  dropped  out  and  turned  on.  He  had  made  it  to  the 
navel-centered  beginning.  Realized  the  Buddha-nature  of  all 
creatures.  And  then  what?  The  crossroads  in  the  heroic-mythic- 
God  trip.  Why  come  down?  Once  you've  seen  it  all,  experienced 
the  divine  flash,  why  return  to  the  frayed  uniform  and  clumsy 
tools  of  your  earthly  games?  How  can  you  come  down  to  play 
out  a  role  in  the  silly  TV  drama  of  American  society?  How  can 
you  come  down  from  the  Buddha  game?  The  wholly-man  role? 

The  Buddha  as  Drop-Out  [  307 

I  read  the  blues  today,  oh,  boy,  about  a  lucky  man  who  great  the 

Tradition  has  it  that  Gautama  Buddha  after  his  illumination 
sat  for  days  under  the  bo  tree,  wondering  whether  he  should 
come  back  to  deal  with  the  pompous  Brahmin  priesthood  and 
his  kindly  but  myopic  parents,  the  aging  king  and  queen,  and 
the  FDA  at  Benares  and  the  crowd  back  at  the  office  and  the 
shallow  hit-and-run  celestial  aspirations  of  his  followers.  Or 
even  to  write  articles  for  the  well-meaning  editors  of  very  slick 
magazines.  Why  bother? 

Gautama's  question  is  exactly  that  anguishing  dilemma  faced 
by  several  million  young  Americans  who  have  taken  the  psy- 
chedelic trip  in  the  last  5  years.  Because,  when  seen  sub  specie 
aeternitatis,  American  society  really  does  appear  quite  destruc- 
tive and  insane.  What  can  LBJ  or  Billy  Graham  offer  a  dropped- 
out,  turned-on,  ill-prepared,  confused  teen-ager  visionary? 

Why  not  stay  dropped  out? 

Perhaps  the  wisest  of  our  times  are  the  total  drop-outs— those 
eccentrics  who  look  around  and  fold  their  hands  and  quit.  The 
quietly  but  shrewdly  mad  who  crowd  our  mental  hospitals.  The 
drifting,  smiling,  welfare  checksters. 

But  the  message  of  the  Buddha  is  to  tune  in.  Glorify!  Tune 
back  in,  not  to  the  old  game.  You  have  to  stay  dropped  out  of 
that.  You  drop  back  in  to  life.  You  come  back  down  and  express 
your  revelation  in  acts  of  glory  and  beauty  and  humor.  Help 
someone  else  drop  out  and  turn  on. 

The  Buddha  dropped  back  in  with  his  four  noble  truths: 

All  life  is  suffering. 

The  suffering  is  caused  by  striving. 

You  can  end  the  suffering  by  dropping  out  of  the  chase. 

The  dropping  out  involves  an  eightfold  discipline,  hard 
work,  continual  attention,  constant  centering  of  consciousness. 

The  term  "drop-out"  is,  of  course,  deliberately  distorted  by 
Brahmins,  bureaucrats,  moralists,  politicians  and  external 
power  holders.  They  know  that  their  control  will  fall  apart  if 
people  drop  out  and  turn  on.  The  brahminical  federal  strategy 

•  Paraphrased  from  a  classic  Buddhist  text  published  by  the  Beatles. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  308 

has  always  been  the  same.  Convince  the  people  that  the  TV 
show  emanating  from  Benares,  Athens,  Rome,  London,  Saigon, 
Washington  is  reality  and  that  the  ecstasy  is  an  escape  into 
psychosis  and  irresponsibility. 

The  fact  of  the  matter,  as  Gautama's  career  makes  very  clear, 
is  that  dropping  out  is  the  demanding,  arduous  road.  The 
lonely,  scary  confrontation  with  the  evolutionary  reality.  The 
narcotic  escape  is  to  remain  in  the  system.  Be  a  good  king, 
young  Buddha.  Raise  taxes.  Encourage  trade.  Fight  wars  to 
protect  your  people  against  the  enemy.  Be  good.  Join  the  Chris- 
tian meddling,  missionary  society  of  your  time.  Of  necessity,  be 
a  good  rebel  and  protest,  picket,  lobby,  for  the  political  power 
of  the  "outs."  The  oldest  cop-out  of  history.  Nice  rebel! 

The  message  of  the  Gautama  Sakyamuni  is  drop  out  and  turn 
on.  You  can't  do  good  until  you  feel  good.  You  can't  free  others 
until  you  are  free. 

Gautama,  the  Nepalese  drop-out,  is  the  greatest  spiritual 
master  of  recorded  history.  His  message  is  bleak  and  direct. 
Each  man  is  Buddha.  The  aim  of  human  life  is  to  discover  your 
Buddha-hood.  You  must  do  this  yourself.  You  can't  rely  on  any 
of  the  divine  avatars  of  the  past.  Jesus  is  dead.  Krishna  is  dead. 
Lao-tse  is  gone.  You  must  retrace  the  ancient  path  yourself. 
Discover  your  own  Christ-hood.  Stagger  down  from  the  moun- 
tain, flipped-out  Moses,  with  your  own  moral  code  fashioned  in 
the  ecstatic  despair  of  your  own  revelation.  The  only  help  you 
have  is  the  teaching.  Fashion  a  prayer  and  keep  your  sense  of 
humor.  Use  the  guidebooks  and  manuals  left  by  the  inspired 
drop-outs  of  the  past.  The  Buddha  himself  spent  forty  years 
teaching  the  most  accurate  and  detailed  psychological  system 
the  world  has  ever  known.  This  was  his  tuning-back-in  exercise. 
Use  it  and  go  beyond  it. 

But  the  old  texts  mainly  tell  you  what  not  to  do.  The  timing, 
the  direction,  the  style,  the  rhythm,  the  ritual  of  your  search  is 
for  you  to  evolve.  But  this  much  is  known.  It's  all  right.  It's  all 
worked  out.  It's  all  on  autopilot.  Remember  the  Buddha  mes- 
sage. Turn  on,  tune  in,  drop  out. 

Remember  the  Buddha  smile. 

The  Buddha  as  Drop-Out 

Dear  Horizon  reader,  put  your  finger  on  this 

[  309 

remember,  and  smile. 



Homage  to  Huxley 

November  22,  1963,  was  for  Aldous  Huxley  the  time  to  go. 

In  paying  tribute  (a  curious  word)  to  a  departed  luminary,  it 
is  customary  to  appraise  his  contribution,  to  wrap  up  the  mean- 
ing and  message  of  the  hero  and  to  place  it  with  a  flourish  in  the 
inactive  file. 

This  ceremonial  function  is  notoriously  risky  in  the  case  of 
writers.  The  literary  game  has  its  own  stock-exchange  quota- 
tions in  which  hardcover  commodities  rise  and  fall  to  the  irra- 
tional dictates  of  scholarly  fashion. 

To  predict  the  place  that  Aldous  Huxley  will  have  as  a  liter- 
ary figure  is  a  gambling  venture  we  shall  leave  to  the  profes- 
sionals who  are  paid  to  do  it.  They  might  note  that  he  did  not 
win  a  Nobel  Prize— a  good  sign,  suggesting  that  he  made  the 
right  enemies  and  was  properly  unacceptable  to  the  academic 
politicians.  They  will  note  also  that  he  was  a  visionary— always  a 
troublesome  issue  to  the  predictor.  Since  all  visionaries  say  the 
same  thing,  they  are  perennial  commodities,  difficult  to  sell 
short,  annoyingly  capable  of  turning  up  fresh  and  alive  a  thou- 
sand years  later. 

But  Aldous  Huxley  is  not  just  a  literary  figure,  and  for  that 
matter  not  just  a  visionary  writer.  Which  adds  to  the  critic's 
problem.  The  man  just  wouldn't  stop  and  pose  for  the  defini- 
tive portrait.  He  just  wouldn't  slide  symmetrically  into  an 
academic  pigeonhole.  What  shall  we  call  him?  Sage?  Wise 
teacher?  Calypso  guru?  Under  what  index  heading  do  we  file 
the  smiling  prophet?  The  nuclear  age  bodhisattva? 


Homage  to  Huxley  [  311 

Many  of  the  generation  of  scholars  and  critics  who  presently 
adjudicate  literary  reputations  received  their  first  insights  into 
the  snobbish  delights  of  the  mind  from  the  early  novels  of 

I  believe  that  no  one  under  fifty  can  quite  realize  how  exciting 
Huxley  seemed  to  us  who  were  schoolboys  or  undergraduates 
in  the  'twenties  ...  he  was  a  popularizer  of  what,  at  the  time, 
were  "advanced"  ideas  ...  he  was  a  liberator,  who  seemed  to 
encourage  us  in  our  adolescent  revolt  against  the  standards  of 
our  parents.^ 

This  obituary  appraisal,  a  nice  example  of  the  "cracked  look- 
ing glass"  school  of  literary  criticism,  continues  in  the  same 

I  remained  under  the  Huxleyan  enchantment  well  into  my 
twenties.  The  magic  began  gradually  to  fail  after  Point  Counter 
Point  (1928) ;  its  failure  was  due  partly  to  my  discovery  of 
other  contemporary  writers  (Proust,  Joyce,  Lawrence) ,  partly 
to  the  fact  that  Huxley  himself  had  by  that  time  lost  some- 
thing of  his  original  sparkle.  I  felt  little  sympathy  for  his  suc- 
cessive preoccupations  with  scientific  Utopias,  pacifism,  and 
Yoga.  .  .  . 

Of  all  the  misunderstandings  which  divide  mankind,  the 
most  tragic,  obvious,  and  vicious  is  the  conflict  between  the 
young  and  the  old.  It  is  surely  not  Huxley  who  lost  his  sparkle 
but  perhaps  the  quoted  critic,  who  graduated  from  "adolescent 
revolt"  (a  dubious,  ungracious,  middle-aged  phrase)  to  a  static 
"postadolescent"  fatigue  with  new  ideas.  Huxley  continued  to 
produce  prose  which  sparkled,  to  those  who  could  transfer  their 
vision  from  the  mirror  to  the  events  which  were  occurring 
around  them. 

I  believe  that  no  one  over  fifty  can  quite  realize  how  exciting 

ijocelyn  Brooke,  "The  Wicked  Uncle:  An  Appreciation  of  Aldous  Huxley," 
The  Listener,  Vol.  LXX,  No.  1811  (December  12, 1963) ,  p.  991. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  312 

Huxley  seems  to  the  generations  which  followed  their  own.  The 
early  Huxley  was  the  urbane  sophisticate  who  taught  naive 
youngsters  that  parental  notions  about  sex  and  society  left 
something  to  be  improved.  The  early  Huxley  was  an  exciting 
coach  in  the  game  of  intellectual  one-upmanship,  wickedly 
demonstrating  how  to  sharpen  the  mind  so  that  it  could  slice 
experience  into  categories,  how  to  engage  in  brilliant,  witty 
repartee,  how  to  be  a  truly  sophisticated  person. 

But  "then  came  Brave  New  World  (1932) ,  an  entirely  new 
departure,  and  not,  I  think,  a  happy  one.  .  .  ."  Yes,  indeed. 
Then  comes  the  grim  new  world  of  the  1930's  and  a  new  gen- 
eration who  were  less  concerned  with  sparkling  conversation 
than  with  trying  to  figure  out  why  society  was  falling  apart  at 
the  seams.  The  game  of  polishing  your  own  mind  and  develop- 
ing your  own  personality  (although  kept  alive  in  the  rituals  of 
psychoanalysis)  starts  to  look  like  narcissistic  chess.  Huxley  was 
one  of  the  first  men  of  his  times  to  see  the  limitations  of  the 
obsession  with  self  and  never  again  wrote  to  delight  the  intel- 

But  old  uncles  are  supposed  to  keep  their  proper  place  in  my 
picture  album.  They  have  no  right  charging  off  in  new  direc- 
tions. Investigating  meta-self  social  ideas  and  meta-self  modes  of 
consciousness.  No  right  to  calmly  ask  the  terrible  new  questions 
of  the  mind:  Is  this  all?  Shakespeare  and  Joyce  and  Beethoven 
and  Freud— is  there  no  more?  Television  and  computers— is  this 
all?  Uncle  Aldous,  who  taught  us  how  to  be  clever,  rational, 
individualistic,  now  claims  that  our  sharp  minds  are  creating  air- 
conditioned,  test-tube  anthills.  "As  Mr.  Cyril  Connolly  put  it, 
'Science  had  walked  off  with  art,'  and  a  latent  streak  of  vulgarity 
found  expression.  ..."  Yes,  the  specific  prophecy  is  vulgar. 

And  what  is  even  more  tasteless— to  be  so  right.  Within  15 
years  the  ludicrous,  bizarre  mechanization  of  new  world  fantasy 
had  become  a  reality.  The  conventional  artistic  response  to 
automation  is  the  nihilist  protest.  But  again  Aldous  Huxley 
refuses  to  play  the  literary  game,  insists  on  tinkering  with  evo- 
lutionary resolutions.  Some  of  us  forgot  that  Uncle  Aldous  was 
also  grandson.  The  extra-ordinary,  dazzling  erudition  which 

Homage  to  Huxley  [  313 

spun  out  bons  mots  in  the  early  novels  is  now  sifting  through 
the  wisdom  of  the  East. 

Huxley's  diplomatic  journey  to  the  East  brings  back  no  final 
answer  but  the  right  questions.  He  seeks  the  liberating  seed 
while  avoiding  the  deciduous  underbrush  of  ritual. 

The  first  question:  Is  there  more?  Need  the  cortex  be  limited 
to  the  tribal-verbal?  Must  we  use  only  a  fraction  of  our  neuro- 
logical heritage?  Must  our  minds  remain  flimsy  toys  compared 
to  the  wisdom  within  the  neural  network?  How  to  expand  con- 
sciousness beyond  the  learned  mind?  How  to  find  and  teach  the 
liberation  from  the  cultural  self?  Where  are  the  educational 
techniques  for  exploiting  the  potentials?  Here  again  Huxley 
avoids  doctrinaire  digressions  into  mood,  authority,  semantics, 
ritual.  He  keeps  moving,  looking  for  the  key  which  works. 

In  1954  he  announces  the  discovery  of  the  Eastern  passage: 
Doors  to  Perception^  Heaven  and  Hell.  Psychedelic  drugs  can 
provide  the  illumination,  the  key  to  the  mind's  antipodes,  the 
transcendental  experience.  You  may  not  want  to  make  the 
voyage.  You  may  have  no  interest  in  transcending  your  cultural 
mind.  Fine.  Don't  take  LSD.  Or  you  may  want  illumination  but 
object  to  the  direct,  shortcut  approach.  You  prefer  the  sweat- 
tears  of  verbal  exercises  and  rituals.  Fine.  Don't  take  LSD.  But 
for  those  who  can  accept  the  "gratuitous  grace,"  there  it  is. 

The  age-long  problem  of  how  to  *'get  out"  has  finally  been 
solved.  Biochemical  mysticism  is  a  demonstrated  fact.  Next 
comes  the  second  problem.  There  is  the  infused  vision  of  the 
open  cortex,  flashing  at  speeds  which  far  outstrip  our  verbal 
machinery.  And  there  is  the  tribal  marketplace  which  cannot 
utilize  or  even  allow  the  accelerated  neural  energy.  How  can 
the  gap  be  bridged? 

Aldous  Huxley  preached  no  escape  from  the  insanity  and 
semantic  madness  of  the  twentieth  century.  His  next  message 
was  not  one  of  quietism  and  arhat  passivity.  No  one  was  more 
concerned,  more  engaged,  more  involved  in  the  active  attempt 
to  make  the  best  of  both  worlds. 

To  make  the  best  of  both  worlds— this  was  the  phrase  we  heard 
him  repeat  over  and  over  again  during  the  last  years.  Of  course 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [514 

most  of  his  readers  and  critics  didn't  know  what  he  was  talking 
about.  If  you  don't  realize  that  it  is  now  a  simple  matter  to 
reach  ecstasy,  to  get  out,  to  have  the  vision,  to  reach  the  other 
worlds  of  your  own  cortex,  then  technical  discussions  of  "re- 
entry" problems  make  little  sense  to  you. 

But  there  it  was.  The  old  Mahayana  question  now  made  real 
and  practical.  How  to  apply  the  now  available  potentialities  of 
the  accelerated  cortex? 

Aldous  Huxley's  last  message  to  the  planet  contains  the  an- 
swer to  this  question  in  the  form  of  the  Utopian  novel  Island.^ 

This  book,  published  in  1962,  is  the  climax  of  the  69-year 
voyage  of  discovery.  It  is  a  great  book.  It  will  become  a  greater 

Like  all  great  books  it  is  misunderstood  in  its  time  because  it 
is  so  far  in  front  of  its  time.  It's  too  much  to  take.  Too  much. 
Island  is  a  continent,  a  hemisphere,  a  galaxy  of  a  book. 

At  the  most  superficial  level  it's  a  science  fiction  tale  with 
heroes  and  villains  in  a  fantasy  land.  It's  a  satire  as  well— of 
Western  civilization  and  its  follies.  So  far,  the  book  can  be  dealt 

But  it's  much  more.  It's  a  Utopian  tract.  Huxley's  final  state- 
ment about  how  to  make  the  best  of  both  worlds.  Of  individual 
freedom  and  social  responsibility.  Of  East  and  West.  Of  left  and 
right  cerebral  hemispheres.  Of  action  and  quietism.  Of  Tantra 
and  Arhat.  Of  verbal  and  nonverbal.  Of  work  and  play.  Of 
mind  and  metamind.  Of  technique  and  nature.  Of  body  and 
spirit.  Of  religion  and  the  secular. 

It's  a  manual  on  education.  A  handbook  on  psychotherapy 
and  mind  control.  A  solution  to  the  horrors  of  the  biparent 
family,  the  monstrous  father-mother  pressure  cooker. 

Too  much,  indeed,  for  one  book;  but  there's  more. 

Island  is  a  treatise  on  living,  on  the  living  of  each  moment. 

And  most  important  and  staggering,  the  book  is  a  treatise  on 

The  easy  intellectual  rejection  of  this  wealth  of  practical,  how- 
to-do-it  information  is  to  call  it  fantasy.  Adolescent  daydreams 

2  New  York,  Harper  &  Row,  1962. 

Homage  to  Huxley  [  315 

about  how  things  could  be  in  a  society  imagined  and  run  by 
gentle,  secluded  scholars. 

But  here  is  the  terrible  beauty  of  Huxley's  science-fiction- 
satirical-utopian  manual  on  how  to  live  and  how  to  live  with 
others  and  how  to  die  and  how  to  die  with  others:  it's  all  based 
on  facts.  Island  is  a  popular  presentation  of  empirical  facts- 
anthropological,  psychological,  psychedelic,  sociological.  Every 
method,  every  social  sequence  described  in  Island  is  based  on 
data.  Huxley's  Utopian  ideas  can  work  because  they  have 
worked.  It's  all  been  done— not  in  a  fantasied  future  but  yes- 

It  has  been  tried  and  done  by  Huxley  himself,  and  by  his 
"Palanese"  wife  Laura  Archera  Huxley,  who  presented  many  of 
these  intensely  practical,  down-to-earth  ideas  in  her  book.  You 
Are  Not  the  Target.^  It's  a  mistake  to  think  of  him  as  a 
detached  novelist  observing  and  commenting  on  the  scene. 
Huxley  was  a  tall,  slightly  stooped  calypso  singer,  intensely 
topical,  strolling  nearsightedly  through  the  crowds,  singing 
funny  stilted  verses  in  an  English  accent,  singing  about  the 
events  in  which  he  was  participating.  He  didn't  just  figure  it 
out— he  experienced  much  of  it  himself. 

Huxley's  explorations  with  psychedelic  drugs  are  an  example 
of  his  engagement.  His  willingness  to  get  involved.  Remember, 
every  person  who  can  read  without  moving  his  lips  has  heard 
about  what  the  Saturday  Evening  Post^  calls  "the  dangerous 
magic  of  LSD."  And  despite  the  controversy,  almost  everyone 
knows  what  is  involved— the  mind  loss  and  the  vision.  Everyone 
has  had  to  come  to  terms  with  the  new  development  in  his  own 

There  are  as  many  rational  reasons  for  not  taking  LSD  as 
there  are  facets  to  the  human  mind— moral,  practical,  medical, 
psychiatric,  mental.  The  real  reason— however  it  is  expressed— is 
fear.  Fear  of  losing  what  we  have.  Fear  of  going  beyond  where 
we  are. 

Aldous  Huxley  had  spent  years  preparing  himself  for  the 

8  New  York,  Farrar,  Straus,  1963. 
4  November  2,  1963. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [316 

fearful  psychedelic  voyage,  and  he  made  it  without  question 
when  it  presented  itself.  Why?  Duty?  Curiosity?  Conviction? 
Courage?  Faith  in  the  process?  Trust  in  his  companions— divine 
or  human? 

He  did  it,  and  the  world  will  never  forget  it. 

But  the  gamble  of  the  mind  was  not  the  last  act  of  faith  and 
courage.  Aldous  Huxley  went  on  to  face  death  as  he  had  faced 
the  whirling  enigma  of  the  life  process.  He  tells  us  about  it  with 
poetic  sensitivity  and  concrete  specificity  in  the  fourteenth 
chapter  of  Island*  his  book  of  the  living  and  the  dying. 

Rounding  a  screen,  he  [Dr.  Robert]  caught  a  glimpse  .  .  . 
of  a  high  bed,  of  a  dark  emaciated  face  on  the  pillow,  of  arms 
that  were  no  more  than  parchment-covered  bones,  of  claw-like 
hands.  .  .  .  He  looked  at  the  face  on  the  pillow  .  .  .  still,  still 
with  a  serenity  that  might  almost  have  been  the  frozen  calm  of 
death.  .  .  . 

"Lakshmi."  Susila  laid  a  hand  on  the  old  woman's  wasted 
arm.  "Lakshmi,"  she  said  again  more  loudly.  The  death-calm 
face  remained  impassive.  "You  mustn't  go  to  sleep." 

.  .  .  "Lakshmi!" 

The  face  came  to  life. 

"I  wasn't  really  asleep,"  the  old  woman  whispered.  "It's  just 
my  being  so  weak.  I  seem  to  float  away." 

"But  you've  got  to  be  here,"  said  Susila.  "You've  got  to  know 
you're  here.  All  the  time."  She  slipped  an  additional  pillow 
under  the  sick  woman's  shoulders  and  reached  for  a  bottle  of 
smelling  salts  that  stood  on  the  bed  table.  .  .  .  Then  after 
another  pause,  "Oh,  how  wonderful,"  she  whispered  at  last, 
"how  wonderful!"  Suddenly  she  winced  and  bit  her  lip. 

Susila  took  the  old  woman's  hand  in  both  of  hers.  "Is  the 
pain  bad?"  she  asked. 

"It  would  be  bad,"  Lakshmi  explained,  "if  it  were  really  my 
pain.  But  somehow  it  isn't.  The  pain's  here;  but  I'm  some- 
where else.  It's  like  what  you  discover  with  the  moksha- 
medicine.  Nothing  really  belongs  to  you.  Not  even  your  pain." 

.  .  .  "And  now,"  Susila  was  saying,  "think  of  that  view  from 
the  Shiva  temple.  Think  of  those  lights  and  shadows  on  the  sea, 

•  Harper  &  Row,  New  York,  1962. 

Homage  to  Huxley  [  317 

those  blue  spaces  between  the  clouds.  Think  of  them,  and  then 
let  go  of  your  thinking.  Let  go  of  it,  so  that  the  not-Thought 
can  come  through.  Things  into  Emptiness,  Emptiness  into 
Suchness.  Suchness  into  things  again,  into  your  own  mind. 
Remember  what  it  says  in  the  Sutra.  'Your  own  conscious- 
ness shining,  void,  inseparable  from  the  great  Body  of  Radi- 
ance, is  subject  neither  to  birth  or  death,  but  is  the  same  as  the 
immutable  Light,  Buddha  Amitabha.'  " 

"The  same  as  the  light,"  Lakshmi  repeated.  "And  yet  it's  all 
dark  again." 

"It's  dark  because  you're  trying  too  hard,"  said  Susila.  "Dark 
because  you  want  it  to  be  light.  Remember  what  you  used  to 
tell  me  when  I  was  a  little  girl.  'Lightly,  child,  lightly.  You've 
got  to  learn  to  do  everything  lightly.  Think  lightly,  act  lightly, 
feel  lightly.  Yes,  feel  lightly,  even  though  you're  feeling  deeply.' 
.  .  .  Lightly,  lightly— it  was  the  best  advice  ever  given  me. 
Well,  now  I'm  going  to  say  the  same  thing  to  you,  Lakshmi 
.  .  .  Lightly,  my  darling,  lightly.  Even  when  it  comes  to 
dying.  Nothing  ponderous,  or  portentous,  or  emphatic.  No 
rhetoric,  no  tremolos,  no  self-conscious  persona  putting  on  its 
celebrated  imitation  of  Christ  or  Goethe  or  Little  Nell.  And, 
of  course,  no  theology,  no  metaphysics.  Just  the  fact  of  dying 
and  the  fact  of  the  Clear  Light.  So  throw  away  all  your  bag- 
gage and  go  forward.  There  are  quicksands  all  about  you, 
sucking  at  your  feet,  trying  to  suck  you  down  into  fear  and 
self-pity  and  despair.  That's  why  you  must  walk  so  lightly. 
Lightly,  my  darling  .  .  .  Completely  unencumbered." 

...  He  looked  again  at  the  fleshless  face  on  the  pillow  and 
saw  that  it  was  smiling. 

"The  Light,"  came  the  hoarse  whisper,  "the  Clear  Light.  It's 
here— along  with  the  pain,  in  spite  of  the  pain." 

"And  where  are  youV  Susila  asked. 

"Over  there,  in  the  corner."  Lakshmi  tried  to  point,  but  the 
raised  hand  faltered  and  fell  back,  inert,  on  the  coverlet.  "I  can 
see  myself  there.  And  she  can  see  my  body  on  the  bed." 

"Can  she  see  the  Light?" 

"No.  The  Light's  here,  where  my  body  is.  .  .  ." 

"She's  drifted  away  again,"  said  Susila.  "Try  to  bring  her 

Dr.  Robert  slipped  an  arm  under  the  emaciated  body  and 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  318 

lifted  it  into  a  sitting  posture.  The  head  drooped  sideways 
onto  his  shoulder. 

"My  little  love,"  he  kept  whispering.  "My  little  love  .  .  ." 

Her  eyelids  fluttered  open  for  a  moment.  "Brighter,"  came 
the  barely  audible  whisper,  "brighter."  And  a  smile  of  hap- 
piness intense  almost  to  the  point  of  elation  transfigured  her 

Through  his  tears  Dr.  Robert  smiled  back  at  her.  "So  now 
you  can  let  go,  my  darling."  He  stroked  her  gray  hair.  "Now 
you  can  let  go.  Let  go,"  he  insisted.  "Let  go  of  this  poor  old 
body.  You  don't  need  it  any  more.  Let  it  fall  away  from  you. 
Leave  it  lying  here  like  a  pile  of  worn-out  clothes." 

In  the  fleshless  face  the  mouth  had  fallen  cavernously  open, 
and  suddenly  the  breathing  became  stertorous. 

"My  love,  my  little  love  .  .  ."  Dr.  Robert  held  her  more 
closely.  "Let  go  now,  let  go.  Leave  it  here,  your  old  worn-out 
body,  and  go  on.  Go  on,  my  darling,  go  on  into  the  Light,  into 
the  peace,  into  the  living  peace  of  the  Clear  Light  .  .  ." 

Susila  picked  up  one  of  the  limp  hands  and  kissed  it,  then 
turned.  .  .  . 

"Time  to  go,"  she  whispered.  ... 




^BiS^H^v '  iilli^'^'^^^^^^^^^H^Hi^^^^^^^^^^^B 





1  ""^J^^^B/f^KB/ 


'    '. ■' '  '^^^^^^1 



A  public  discussion  of  alternative  lifestyles  amongst 
Alan  Watts,  Allen  Ginsberg,  Gary  Snyder  and  Leary  was 
sponsored  by  the  San  Francisco  Oracle  (1967). 


DECEMBER  17, 1966 
25  CENTS 

MARIA     Exciusive: 


God  and  Timothy  Leary 

"God  and  Timothy  Leary"  Cover  of  Ave  Maria 
featuring  Leary  interview  (1966). 


The  Mad  Virgin  of  Psychedelia 

The  psychedelic  revolution  has  (with  miraculous  swiftness)  won 
the  hearts  and  copped  the  minds  of  the  American  people  be- 
cause (like  any  religious  up-heave-all)  it  uses  the  ultimate  weep- 
on,  humor. 

Psychedelic  guerrillas,  disorganized  bands  of  wise  goof-offs, 
creative  fuck-ups,  and  comedian  chaplains  have  in  6  quip  years 
effortlessly  taken  over  the  most  powerful  empire  in  world 

With  music,  clowning,  laughter,  the  psychedelic  revolution 
has  passed  through  the  classic  sociopolitical  stages  of  every  great 
human  renaissance: 

1.  The  philosophic  preparation  (Alan  Watts  writes  the  Zen 

2.  The  underground  swell  of  the  masses  hungry  for  freedom 
(Allen  Ginsberg  howls) 

3.  Accidental  flareups  of  trigger  incidents  (Laredo,  Texas: 
by  this  rude  bridge  that  arched  the  flood,  their  flag  to  custom's 
seize  unfurled,  here  the  embattled  .  .  .) 

4.  Widespread  guerrilla  tactics  (Ken  Kesey's  Merry  Prank- 

5.  The  turning-point  victory  (the  publishers  of  Time-Life 
get  turned  on) 

6.  The  mopping-up  operations  (in  charge  of  Sergeant 

7.  The  writing  of  war  memoirs,  prayer  books,  manuals,  cate- 

[  319 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  320 

chisms,  new  testaments,  grandiose  biblical  versions  in  which  the 
accidental-inevitable  is  made  to  seem  planned  blueprint 

The  evangelists  and  social  historians  of  the  psychedelic  revo- 
lution have  a  delightful  roster  of  hero-comedian-clowns  avail- 
able for  legendary  canonization. 

Alan  Watts  is  the  smiling  scholar  of  the  acid  age.  For  30  years 
he  has  been  converting  the  most  complex  theories  of  oriental 
philosophies  into  jewellike  up-levels,  wry  epigrams.  Cool,  gra- 
cious, never  ruffled,  chuckling  to  share  with  us  his  amused 
wonder  at  God's  plans  for  the  planet  and,  with  quizzical  eye, 
glancing  to  see  if  we  will  catch  on. 

Allen  Ginsberg.  The  celestial  clown.  Giggling,  posturing 
with  complete  insight,  histrionic,  shamelessly  direct.  No  one, 
not  even  J.  Edgar  Hoover,  can  be  with  this  nearsighted,  rum- 
pled, worried,  hysterical,  lyrical,  furry  bear  for  10  minutes  and 
not  giggle  back  because  he  tickles  and  hugs  you  when  no  one 
else  dares. 

The  Leary-Alpert-Metzner-Harvard-Hitchcock-Mellon-Mex- 
ico-Millbrook  Circus  backed  and  lurched  into  history,  continu- 
ously making  every  mistake  except  taking  itself  too  seriously  for 
very  long.  (Someone  was  always  high  enough  to  laugh.)  The 
name  of  our  prisoner-rehabilitation  project  was  "Break-Out." 
The  Good  Friday  religious  experiment  became  the  Miracle  of 
March  Chapel— to  the  dismay  of  Boston  University.  And  it 
worked.  The  initials  of  our  research  organization,  the  Interna- 
tional Federation  for  Internal  Freedom,  spelled  out  the  condi- 
tional paradox  of  the  atomic  age.  Institutional  titles,  creeds, 
were  invented  and  outgrown  monthly.  Conversion,  excommu- 
nications, schisms,  could  never  keep  up  with  the  changes  at 
Millbrook.  You  couldn't  resign  from  the  Castalia  Foundation 
and  denounce  its  methods  because  it  had  already  evolved  into 
the  League  for  Social  Disorder,  which  in  turn  couldn't  be  sued 
for  its  theatrical  proceeds  because  the  money  and  the  slide 
projectors  had  been  given  away  and  everyone  was  dropped  out, 
camping  in  the  woods,  and  how  could  the  police  get  a  search 
warrant  to  raid  a  sacred  pine  grove  or  a  promontory  known  as 
Lunacy  Hill? 


The  Mad  Virgin  of  Psychedelia  [  321 

The  psychedelic  yoga  is  the  longest  and  toughest  yoga  of  all, 
and  the  only  way  to  keep  it  going  is  with  a  sense  of  humor.  This 
has  been  known  to  seers  and  visionaries  for  thousands  of  years. 

For  me,  the  model  of  the  turned-on,  tuned-in,  dropped-out 
man  is  James  Joyce,  the  great  psychedelic  writer  of  this  century. 
Pouring  out  a  river-run  of  pun,  jest,  put-on,  up-level,  comic 
word  acrobatics.  The  impact  of  Joyce  via  McLuhan  on  the  psy- 
chedelic age  cannot  be  overestimated. 

Bill  Burroughs  is  the  Buster  Keaton  of  the  movement.  He 
was  Mr.  Acid  before  LSD  was  invented.  The  soft-bodied  answer 
to  IBM.  Unsmiling  comedian  genius. 

Twenty  years  ago  today  Sergeant  Pepper  taught  the  band  to 
play.  The  classic  ontological  vaudeville  routine. 

The  Buddha  smile. 

The  laughing  fat  Chinese  sage. 

The  flute  of  Krishna  tickling  the  cowgirls. 

The  dance  of  Shiva. 

Om,  the  cosmic  chuckle. 

The  sweaty  belly  guffaw  of  a  Hasidic  Jew. 

Where  are  the  laughing  Christians?  Something  twisted 
grabbed  the  Christian  mind  around  the  third  century.  Is  there 
any  tender  mirth  left  in  the  cult  of  the  cross? 

Mystics,  prophets,  holy  men,  are  all  laughers  because  the 
religious  revelation  is  a  rib-tickling  amazement-insight  that  all 
human  purposes,  including  your  own,  are  solemn  self-decep- 
tions. You  see  through  the  game  and  laugh  with  God  at  the 
cosmic  joke. 

The  holy  man  is  the  one  who  can  pass  on  a  part  of  the  secret, 
express  the  joke,  act  out  a  fragment  of  the  riddle. 

To  be  a  holy  man,  you  have  to  be  a  funny  man. 

Take  for  example  Lisa  Lieberman,  founder  and  chief  boo-hoo 
of  the  Neo-Marxian  Church.  Authentic  American  anarchist, 
nonconformist,  itinerant  preacher.  A  pure-essence  eccentric 
paranoid  in  the  grand  tradition  of  bullheaded,  nutty  women 
who  stubbornly  insist  on  being  themselves  and  who  are  ready 
to  fight  at  the  drop  of  a  cliche  for  the  right  of  others  to  be 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  322 

For  five  years  this  Lisa  Lieberman  has  been  a  wandering 
guerrilla  nun  in  the  psychedelic  underground. 

When  she  first  showed  up  at  Millbrook  in  1963,  Lisa  was  a 
school  psychologist,  a  big,  blond,  loud-voiced  barroom  intellec- 
tual. She  roved  around  Castalia  one  weekend,  grandiose, 
blustering,  reverent,  intelligent  and  too  drunk  to  take  LSD. 

Then  this  oldest  daughter  of  a  Lutheran  minister  wrote  a 
1,000-page  pilgrim's  progress  epic  about  her  3-day  nontrip  to 
Millbrook,  running  off  15  typed  pages  a  day  and  coming  back  to 
Castalia  weekends  as  Christian  H.  Christian,  crawling  painfully 
up  the  kitchen  floor,  splashing  in  the  toilet  bowls  filled  with 
whiskey,  throwing  out  an  endless  monologue  of  corny  psycho- 
logical-psychedelic paranoia,  and  making  feeble  but  mesmeric 
passes  at  Castalia's  soft-eyed  marijuana  goddesses  whom  she 
hallucinated  to  be  thirteen-year-old  virgins.  Like  Dylan 
Thomas,  so  high,  so  juiced  on  her  own  cerebrospinal  fluid,  she 
accused  us  of  slipping  LSD  into  her  food. 

Then  she  got  fired  by  her  school  board  for  some  series  of 
honest,  rebellious,  adolescent  antics  and,  naturally,  started  her 
own  religion. 


Lisa  Lieberman,  the  Martin  Luther  of  the  psychedelic  move- 
ment, even  when  drunk,  spraying  blindly  from  her  inkpot,  the 
most  courageous  theologian  of  our  time. 


The  Mad  Virgin  of  Psychedelia  [  323 

While  the  academics  play  word  games  about  God's  medical 
condition,  Lisa,  staggering  insane  in  her  study  at  three  in  the 
morning,  tackles  the  real  gut  issues  like:  are  marijuana  and  LSD 
really  God's  sacraments?  Then,  if  yes  they  are,  and  Lisa  says 
they  are,  then  anyone  who  uses  them,  gives  them,  is  involved  in 
a  divine  transaction  no  matter  how  gamey,  how  nutty,  how 
sordid  his  motives,  so  it  doesn't  matter  who  or  when  or  how  or 
why  you  turn  on,  it's  still  a  holy  cosmic  process  whether  you  are 
a  silly  thirteen-year-old  popping  a  sugar  cube  on  your  boy- 
friend's motorcycle,  or  a  theatrical  agent  giving  pot  to  a  girl  to 
get  her  horny,  or  an  alcoholic  Catholic  priest  carrying  the 
viaticum  to  a  hypocritical  sinner  or  even  a  psychiatrist  giving 
LSD  to  an  unsuspecting  patient  to  do  a  scientific  study.  "It's  all 
God's  flesh,"  shouted  Lisa,  "no  matter  what  your  motives  may 

Oh,  yes,  let  Lisa  be  given  the  credit.  While  the  rest  of  us  were 
still  involved  in  research  foundations  and  poetry  conferences 
and  trying  to  demonstrate  that  LSD  was  a  nice,  healthy,  produc- 
tive medicine  for  virtuous,  docile  Americans,  Lisa  was  roaring 
around  in  a  turquoise  convertible  with  a  suspended  driver's 
license,  drinking  bad  wine  from  a  bottle  and  shouting  don't 



The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  324 

Pageant  magazine  reporter:  You  call  your  local  ministers  boo- 
hoos.  Why  do  you  use  such  a  ridiculous  title? 

Mona  Lisa:  We  realize  this  title  does  have  its  absurd  con- 
notations, but  we  have  intentionally  chosen  something  with 
absurd  qualities  to  remind  ourselves  not  to  take  ourselves  too 

Pageant:  You  claim  to  be  a  church,  but  you  don't  take  your 
own  religion  seriously.  What  do  you  take  seriously? 

Lisa:  A  lot  of  things.  But  one  of  the  things  we  take  least 
seriously  is  institutional  life,  the  thing  most  people  take  more 
seriously  than  anything  else.  We  think  this  is  one  of  the  faults  of 
modern  man:  elevating  institutional  forms  and  structures  to  the 
level  of  eternal  verities. 

The  wit  and  wisdom  of  this  great  psychedelic  bovine  is 
collected  in  a  softcover  book.  The  Neo-Marxian  Church  Cate- 
chism and  Handbook.  The  Table  of  Contents  reflects  the  flavor 
of  this  mad,  disorganized  masterpiece: 

Pronouncements  of  the  chief  boo-hoo  on: 
















The  Mad  Virgin  of  Psychedelia  [  325 

Readers  of  The  Neo-Marxian  Church  Catechism  and  Hand- 
book will  learn  that  the  seal  of  the  church  portrays  a  three-eyed, 
turned-on  toad  rampant  over  the  motto  "Victory  Over  Sexu- 

Tim  Leary:  "Lisa,  I  don't  like  your  motto.  It's  a  whiskey  trip. 
It's  not  a  psychedelic  love  message.  Victory?  Over?  Sexuality?" 

Lisa:  "It's  my  trip.  Take  it  or  leave  it." 

You  ask  Lisa  Lieberman  what  her  goals  are,  and  she  tells  you, 
"Money  and  power."  To  that  silly  end  the  last  20  pages  of  the 
catechism  are  designed  as  a  Monkey  Ward  catalogue  of  items 
available  from  the  Neo-Marxian  Church,  cash  in  advance,  in- 
cluding for  $30,  a  destruct  box  ("if  opened  improperly,  con- 
tents go  up  in  flames")  and,  for  $100,  a  certificate  stating  that 
"the  Chief  Boo-Hoo  never  even  heard  of  you  and  regards  you 
with  indifference." 

Lisa's  Catechism  and  Handbook  is  that  rare  commodity,  an 
original,  personal,  unashamed,  naked  unveiling  of  a  woman's 
mind,  the  Lisa  Lieberman  head  trip.  At  times  padded,  at  times 
so  involutedly  paranoid  that  you  lose  the  thread,  at  times 
sloppily  falling  down,  but  always  feminine,  coarse,  shouting, 
praying,  and  in  touch  with  Central  Broadcasting,  the  original,  2- 
billion-year-old  Sunday  night  comedy  show. 

Lisa  Lieberman  came  on  the  scene  before  the  cool,  gentle 
loveheads.  She  can't  stand  flowers.  She  hates  rock  'n'  roll.  She 
has  absolutely  no  sense  of  beauty.  She  is  a  clumsy  manipulator,  a 
blatant  flatterer,  a  bully  to  the  willingly  weak,  the  world's  most 
incompetent  conman.  She  is,  in  short,  a  sodden  disgrace  to  the 

Oh,  pilgrim,  if  you  come  to  visit  the  chief  boo-hoo,  you  will 
see  a  sign  on  her  door,  "Parsonage,  Neo-Marxian  Church,  Lisa 
Lieberman,  Chief  Boo-Hoo.  Art  for  Art's  Sake." 

You  ring  the  bell  and  await  your  spiritual  teacher.  The  cover 
of  the  book  flies  open  and  there,  reeking  the  fumes  of  a  smoky, 
sweaty  twenty-first-century  Martian  waterfront  saloon,  is  the 
chief  boo-hoo  herself:  glaring,  wrinkled  shirt,  sloppy  pants. 
Reading  this  book  is  a  revelatory  laugh-cry  trip  for  those  who 
are  ready  for  it. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  326 

Last  night  Rosemary  was  lying  by  the  campfire  on  a  bed  of 
pine  needles,  reading  the  Catechism.  When  she  finished  she 
looked  up,  her  face  beautiful  in  the  red  shadows,  and  said, 
"Lisa  Lieberman  is  a  funny  woman."  Rosemary  is  right.  Lisa  is 
a  not-wholly  holy,  funny  man. 



Homage  to  the  Awe-full  See-er' 

At  each  beat 

in  the  earth's  rotating  dance 
there  is  bom  .  .  .  *'  '* 

a  momentary  cluster  of  molecules 
possessing  the  transient  ability  to  know-see-experience 
its  own  place  in  the  evolutionary  spiral. 

Such  an  organism,  such  an  event, 
senses  exactly  where  he  is 
in  the  billion-year-old  ballet. 

He  is  able  to  trace  back 

the  history  of  the  deoxyribonucleic  wire 

(of  which  he  is  both  conductive  element  and  current) . 

He  can  experience  the  next  moment  in  all  its  meaning. 

Million  to  the  millionth  meaning. 

Exactly  that. 

Some  divine  see-ers  are  recognized  for  this  unique  capacity. 

Those  that  are  recognized 

are  called  and  killed  by  various  names. 

Most  of  them  are  not  recognized; 

they  float  through  life 

like  a  snowflake  retina 

•  Reprinted  from  Psychedelic  Review,  No.  9,  1966. 


The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  328 

kissing  the  earth 

where  they  land  in  soft  explosion. 
No  one  ever  hears  them  murmur 
"Ah,  there," 

at  the  moment  of  impact. 
These  men, 
these "  *s" 

are  aware  of  each  other's  existence 
the  way  each  particle  in  the  hurtling  nuclear  trapeze 
is  aware  of  other  particles. 

They  move  too  fast  to  give  names  to  themselves 
or  each  other. 

Such  men  can  be  described  in  no  more  precise  and  less 

foolish  terms  than  the  descriptive  equations 

of  nuclear  physics. 
They  have  no  more  or  less  meaning  in  the  cultural  games 

of  life  than  electrons  have  in  the  game  of 

They  are  present  but  cannot  be  perceived  nor  categorized. 
They  exist  at  a  level 

beyond  that  of  the  black  and  white  squares 
of  the  game  board. 

The  " 

process  has  no  function,  but  can  serve  a  function  in  our 

learning  games. 
It  can  be  used  to  teach. 
Like  this. 

Take  an  apple  and  slice  it  down  the  middle. 
A  thin  red  circle  surrounds  gleaming  white  meat 
and  there,  toward  the  center,  is  a  dark  seed. 
Look  at  the  seed. 
Its  function  is  beyond  any  of  your  games,  but  you  can  use 

its  properties. 
You  can  use  the  seed. 

Homage  to  the  Awe-full  See-er  [  329 

The  seed  can  teach  you. 

If  you  knew  how  to  listen 

the  seed  would  hum  you  a  seed  song. 

The  divine  incarnates,  "  ,"  teach  this  way. 

They  teach  like  a  snowflake  caught  in  the  hand  teaches. 

Once  you  speak  the  message,  you  have  lost  it. 

Once  you  know  the  message,  you  no  longer  know  it. 

The  seed  becomes  a  dried  pit. 

The  snowflake  a  film  of  water  on  your  hand. 

Wise  incarnates  are  continually  exploding  in  beautiful 

dance  form. 
Like  the  eye  of  a  speckle  fish  looks  at  you  unblinking, 
dying  in  your  hand. 
Like  cancer  virus  softly  fragmenting 
divine  beauty  in  the  grasp  of  your  tissue. 

Now  and  then  "  '*  flower  bursts  in  song, 

in  words, 




The  message  is  always  the  same 

though  the  noise, 

the  scratched  rhumba  of  inkmarks  is  always  different. 

The  message  is  like  Einstein's  equation  felt  as  orgasm. 
The  serpent  unwinds  up  the  spine  and  mushrooms 
lotus  sunflare  in  the  skull. 
If  I  tell  you  that  the  apple  seed  message  hums  the 

drone  of  a  Hindu  flute,  will  I  stop  the  drone? 
The  secret  of  "  "is  that  it  must  always  be  secret. 

Divine  sage  recognize, 
message  is  lost. 

Snowflake  caught,  pattern  changed. 
The  trick  of  the  divine  incarnate  can  now  be  dimly 


The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  330 

He  dances  out  the  pattern  without  ever  being  recognized. 
As  soon  as  he  is  caught  in  the  act,  he  melts  in  your  hand. 

(The  message  is  then  contained  in  the  drop  of  water, 

but  this  involves  another  chase  for  the  infinite.) 

The  sign  of  "  "is  change  and  anonymity. 

As  soon  as  you  try  to  glorify, 





an  incarnate, 

you  have  killed  him. 

Thus  the  Pharisees 
were  performing  a  merry-holy  ballet. 
All  praise  to  them! 
It  is  the  Christians  who  kill  Christ. 
As  soon  as  you  invent  a  symbol, 
give  "  "a  name, 

you  assassinate  the  process 
to  serve  your  own  ends. 
To  speak  the  name  of  Buddha, 

(except,  maybe  as  an  ejaculation, 
a  sudden  ecstatic  breath  like, 
"Ha,  ha,  ha") 
is  to  speak  a  dirty  word, 
to  murder  the  living  God, 
fix  him  with  your  preservative, 
razor  him  into  microscope  slides. 
Sell  him  for  profit  in  your  biological  supply  house. 

The  incarnate  has  no  function. 

But  his  effect  is  to  produce  the  ecstatic  gasp. 

Homage  to  the  Awe-full  See-er  [  331 





The  uncontrollable  visionary  laugh. 

Too  much  I 

So  what! 

The  stark  stare  of  wonder. 


Awe-full  I 



: * 

The  Molecular  Revolution 

Happy  Thoughts 

I  am  happy  to  be  here  tonight  in  what  I  feel  to  be  a  historic 
meeting  of  thoughtful  and  visionary  people. 

I  am  happy  tonight  because  I  just  got  word  that  my  eighteen- 
year-old  daughter  Susan,  who  is  in  Laredo,  Texas,  today  to  be 
sentenced  on  a  marijuana  charge,  received  a  suspended  sentence 
and  will  not  have  to  go  to  jail  for  15  years.  [Applause] 

Salute  to  Allen  Ginsberg 

I  have  more  reasons  to  be  a  happy  man.  It  is  good  that  Allen 
Ginsberg  is  here.  Allen  Ginsberg  joined  us  at  Harvard  during 
the  first  two  or  three  months  of  our  research  back  in  I960  and 
along  with  Aldous  Huxley  can  be  considered  as  an  early  guru 
and  architect  of  our  work.  He  spent  many  hours  sitting  with  us, 
telling  us  about  what  he  had  learned  in  Peru  about  how 

*  Transcript  of  a  lecture  delivered  at  an  LSD  conference  sponsored  by  the  Uni- 
versity of  California,  June  1966.  Because  of  hand-wringing  on  the  part  of  uni- 
versity oflRcials,  the  conference  was  moved  from  the  Berkeley  campus  to  an 
uncomfortable  building  in  San  Francisco  operated  by  the  University  Extension. 
The  small  size  of  the  hall  limited  attendance  to  500  persons,  about  a  third  of 
whom  were  scholars,  a  third  psychedelicists  and  a  third  police  officers.  Allen 
Ginsberg,  who  had  accepted  an  invitation  to  the  conference,  was  unceremoni- 
ously disinvited  about  a  week  before  the  opening  on  the  grounds  that  "poets" 
have  nothing  to  say  about  psychedelic  drugsl  Allen  attended  the  conference, 
and  almost  every  speaker  opened  his  remarks  with  a  tribute  to  the  disinvited 


The  Molecular  Revolution  [  333 

Curanderos  ran  yaj6  sessions.  He  told  us  about  the  drug  scene 
in  New  York  and  in  Berkeley  and  in  Morocco.  Allen  is  a 
walking  encyclopedia  of  psychedelic  lore.  Above  all,  Allen 
taught  us  courage— taught  us  not  to  be  afraid  in  facing  those 
unknown  realms  of  consciousness  which  are  opened  up  by 
psychedelic  drugs. 

Beloved  guru,  I  salute  you.  [Applause] 

I  am  also  happy  that  this  conference  was  moved  from  the 
Berkeley  campus  to  University  Extension  here  in  San  Francisco. 
This  is  where  it  is,  and  this  seems  to  be  where  it  belongs. 

University  Extension  and  University  Contraction 

I  would  like  to  make  a  comment  on  the  move,  a  piece  of  wisdom 
which  comes  from  my  cells.  My  cells  tell  me  that  at  every  level 
of  energy  there  is  a  dialogue  between  structure  and  process, 
between  free  energy  and  the  organization  that  contracts  or 
controls  the  free  flow  of  energy.  It  is  necessary  with  every  form 
of  life  and  every  level  of  energy  to  have  to  have  this  incessant 
dialogue  of  the  surging  outward,  the  extension,  if  you  will,  and 
the  contraction,  the  control.  Apparently  this  dialogue  even 
exists  at  the  level  of  the  University  of  California,  where  we  are 
led  to  believe  that  the  opposite  of  University  Extension  is 
University  Contraction. 

Ttie  Department  of  internal  Cliemistry 

However,  I  respect  both  sides  of  this  dialogue.  Both  contraction 
and  expansion,  both  control  and  freedom  are  necessary.  With- 
out control  we  have  chaos,  void.  Without  expansion  we  have 
robot  structure  and  death.  If  history  teaches  us  anything,  it 
teaches  us  that  in  every  generation  the  surging  energy  of  the 
new  development,  the  thrust  of  the  young  idea,  batters  against 
the  aging  structure  and  then  inevitably,  within  one  or  two 
generations,  becomes  part  of  the  old  static  structure.  Therefore, 
I  predict  that  within  one  generation  we  will  have  across  the  bay 
in  Berkeley  a  department  of  psychedelic  studies.  There  will 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  334 

probably  be  a  dean  of  LSD.  When  students  come  home  for  their 
vacation,  Mother  and  Father  will  ask  not,  "What  book  are  you 
reading?"  but  "Which  molecules  are  you  using  to  open  up 
which  Library  of  Congress  inside  your  nervous  system?"  And 
the  bureaucratic  requirements  will  still  be  with  us.  You  will 
have  to  pass  Marijuana  lA  and  IB  to  qualify  for  an  introduction 
to  LSD  101.  Meanwhile,  down  on  Telegraph  Avenue,  or  over 
on  North  Beach,  there  will  be  the  growing  black  market  in 
RNA,  and  voices  of  alarm  will  be  raised  at  the  new  chemical 
instruments  for  accelerating  consciousness,  enhancing  memory, 
speeding  up  learning. 

The  same  cycles  repeat.  Structure  versus  process.  Young  ver- 
sus old.  We  are  participating  this  week  in  a  very  ancient  ritual. 

The  Old  Movie — the  Same  Old  Hopes,  the  Same  Old  Fears 

For  thousands  of  years,  men  and  women  have  been  meeting  to 
do  exactly  what  we  are  doing  here  in  this  room— to  study 
consciousness.  It's  the  oldest  subject  matter  of  all.  How  many 
levels  of  reality  are  there?  How  can  we  reach  them?  How  can  we 
go  beyond  symbols?  In  every  tribe  in  human  history  there  have 
been  men  who  have  specialized  in  these  questions,  and  the 
entire  tribe  awaits  their  answers.  There  has  always  been  this 
tension  between  the  shaman  and  the  war  chief.  I  am  sure  that 
secret  service  agents  of  the  Roman  legions  sneaked  into  the 
catacombs,  waiting  for  the  psychedelic  services  to  start.  The 
turn-on  instruments,  the  cross  and  the  chalice,  were  quite  illegal 
in  those  days,  you  know.  And  later,  Turkish  Janissaries  ner- 
vously watched  the  Sufi  dervish  dancers  working  out  their 
elaborate  and  precise  methods  for  getting  high,  for  whirling 
beyond  the  mind  through  music  and  dance.  And  papal  commis- 
sioners squirmed  in  Rome  while  Galileo  turned  them  on  in 
Florence  with  his  telescope.  It's  one  of  the  oldest  games  in 
history  and  sometimes  I  feel  as  though  I  am  taking  part  in  one 
of  those  old,  old,  late-night  rerun  movies.  The  same  cast  of 
characters,  the  same  debate,  the  same  fears,  the  same  hopes. 
But  here  we  play  out  the  drama  in  an  awkward  stage  setting— 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  335 

large  hall  made  of  metal.  Spotlights  and  microphones.  It  would 
be  easier  and  more  orthodox  if  we  were  meeting  in  small  groups 
on  a  hillside,  or  in  a  sacred  grove  someplace,  because  of  the 
subject  matter.  It's  a  complicated  procedure,  this  talking  about 
the  psychedelic  experience  to  a  psychedelic  audience.  There  are 
many  levels  of  consciousness,  and  actually,  right  at  this  moment, 
different  members  of  this  audience  are  vibrating  at  several  of 
these  levels. 

Lecturing  to  a  Straight  Audience  is  Simpie 

Now  the  typical,  nonpsychedelic  lecturer  has  to  worry  about 
only  two  levels  of  consciousness.  His  job  is  to  hold  the  attention 
of  the  audience  to  the  level  of  symbolic  logic.  He  spins  out  one 
symbol  after  another.  His  main  task  is  to  stimulate.  To  keep  the 
audience  from  falling  into  the  two  lowest  levels  of  conscious- 
ness—stupor or  sleep.  The  psychedelic  lecturer  faces  a  more 
awesome  task.  As  I  look  around  this  lecture  hall,  I  suspect  that 
some  of  you  are  mildly  stupefied  by  alcohol.  If  you  have  had  two 
or  three  drinks  before  dinner,  at  some  moment  during  my 
lecture,  as  I  push  symbols  at  you,  one  after  another,  your  atten- 
tion may  start  to  waver  and  your  eyelids  flicker  a  little. 

Many  of  you  are  stimulated  by  caffeine  and  ready  to  follow 
the  sequence  of  symbols. 

But  I  suspect  that  some  of  you  here  tonight  are  at  a  more 
expanded  level  of  consciousness. 

Compared  to  Lecturing  to  a  Turned-on  Audience 

If  any  of  you  have  smoked  marijuana  in  the  last  2  hours,  you  are 
listening  not  just  to  my  symbols.  Your  sense  organs  have  been 
intensified  and  enhanced,  and  you  are  also  aware  of  the  play  of 
light,  the  tone  of  voice.  You  are  aware  of  many  sensory  cues 
beyond  the  tidy  sequence  of  subjects  and  predicates  which  I  am 
laying  out  in  the  air.  And  there  may  even  be  some  of  you  in  the 
audience  who  decided  that  you'd  put  over  your  eyes  that  more 
powerful  microscope  and  find  out,  "Well,  where  is  this  fellow 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  336 

at,  anyway?"  Perhaps  you  have  taken  LSD  tonight,  in  which 
case  my  task  is  not  to  wake  you  up  but  rather  not  to  pull  you 
down.  I  have  often  had  the  experience  in  lecturing  to  psyche- 
delic audiences  of  having  my  eyes  wander  around  the  room  and 
suddenly  be  fixed  by  two  orbs,  two  deep,  dark  pools,  and  realize 
that  I  am  looking  into  someone's  genetic  code,  that  I  have  to 
make  sense  not  to  a  symbolic  human  mind,  nor  to  a  complicated 
series  of  sense  organs,  but  I  have  to  make  sense  to  many  evolu- 
tionary forms  of  life— an  amoeba,  a  madman,  a  medieval  saint. 

Now  another  problem  of  communication  tonight  is  that  there 
are  many  professional  and  age  groups  present.  We  have  just  had 
a  list  of  the  many  disciplines  attending  this  conference,  includ- 
ing the  young  and  the  nonprofessional.  I  would  like  to  be  able 
to  speak  directly  and  to  make  contact  with  every  person  repre- 
senting every  social  and  professional  group  that  is  here  tonight. 
That  is  my  goal.  But  the  problem  is  that  you  speak  so  many 

I  often  feel  in  this  situation  like  a  United  Nations  interpreter 
trying  to  translate  at  many  different  levels  the  message  I  am 
trying  to  get  across.  You  see,  if  I  were  to  talk  just  to  the  young 
LSD  users  in  the  room,  almost  anything  I  chanted  would 
probably  get  the  message  across.  I  could  read  the  San  Francisco 
telephone  book  and  be  greeted  with  enthusiastic  applause. 

Now,  that's  really  not  such  a  far-out  idea.  You  see,  the  white 
section  of  the  telephone  book  has  a  labeling  and  a  space-time 
location  of  every  ego  game  in  San  Francisco,  and  the  yellow 
section  has  a  listing,  from  Abbey  Rents  to  Xerox,  of  every  social 
game  in  San  Francisco,  and  the  turned-on  person  who  listens  to 
a  simple  recital  of  that  gamut  of  game  labels  would  get  the 
entire  evolutionary  message. 

So  I'm  not  worried  about  the  young  and  the  turned-on.  I  am 
more  concerned  about  the  law-enforcement  agents  in  this  room, 
those  whose  job  it  is  to  turn  us  off.  It  is  probable  that  there  has 
never  been  a  scientific,  scholarly  meeting  in  the  history  of  our 
country  which  has  had  the  benefit  of  so  many  law-enforcement 
officers  present.  Why  are  there  so  many  secret  police  agents  at 
these  meetings?  There  is  certainly  no  threat  posed  to  property 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  337 

or  person  by  the  gentle  people  who  comprise  this  audience. 
What  is  the  threat  that  attracts  the  police?  Perhaps  it  is  the 
danger  of  new  ideas.  History  teaches  us  that  at  other  times  and 
in  other  countries,  police  agents  swarmed  to  meetings  where 
ideas  were  discussed  which  challenged  the  power  of  the  rulers. 
How  does  a  discussion  about  the  psychedelic  experience 
threaten  the  power  holders  of  this  country?  Is  it  because  LSD 
and  marijuana  and  the  other  psychedelic  drugs  may  enhance 
individual  freedom?  Is  our  government  afraid  of  internal  free- 
dom? I  ask  the  police  agents  in  this  hall  to  listen  to  these 
lectures  with  an  open  mind.  You  may  be  learning  about  the 
future.  You  may  even  decide  to  join  us.* 

I  Want  to  Talk  About  Two  Things 

First  of  all,  I  want  to  talk  about  the  anatomy  and  pharmacology 
of  consciousness.  There  are  many  levels  of  consciousness,  and  if 
we  are  going  to  make  any  sense  of  the  LSD  crisis  or  the  drug 
controversy  which  is  sweeping  America  today,  we  have  to 
understand  there  are  many  levels  of  consciousness,  many  drugs 
which  trigger  off  these  levels  and  different  social  solutions  for 
legalizing  and  controlling  each  of  these  chemicals.  Second,  I 
want  to  talk  about  the  politics  of  ecstasy  and  to  suggest  a  course 
of  social  action  for  these  controversial  times. 

The  Eerie  Power  of  the  Word  "Drug" 

We  live,  of  course,  in  a  drug-happy  culture.  There  are  very  few 
Americans  over  the  age  of  sixteen  who  don't  use  some  dope  to 
alter  consciousness.  Apparently  we  all  agree  that  chemicals  can 
change  consciousness,  but  each  of  us  tends  to  have  his  drug  of 
choice  to  move  to  his  favorite  levels  of  consciousness.  A  tremen- 
dous breakdown  in  communication  exists  as  soon  as  we  use  this 

•  At  this  point  the  lecturer  waved  merrily  to  two  federal  agents  sitting  in  the 
third  row,  who  smiled  and  waved  back.  Thus  was  affectionately  celebrated  the 
reunion  with  the  two  cops  who  busted  the  lecturer,  his  wife  and  his  two  children 
at  Laredo,  Texas,  less  than  30  months  before. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  338 

word  "drug."  Drug!  Drug!  Now  what  is  drug?  It  is  a  little  four- 
letter  phonetic  burst— drug!  Spelled  backward,  it  is  "gurd."  It  is 
one  of  the  most  powerful  syllables  in  America  today.  For  many 
people,  for  most  people  over  the  age  of  forty,  the  word  "drug" 
means  one  of  two  things:  doctor-disease.  Drug-prescription- 
doctor-disease-medical  control-doctor-disease.  Or  drug  means 
dope-crime-dope  fiend-drug-orgy-drug-crime.  These  are  sym- 
bols, but  they  are  powerful  symbols,  and  I  don't  know  how  to 
change  them. 

Confident  Youth  and  Fearful  Age 

Bernie  Ganser,  a  reporter  for  Associated  Press,  told  me  a  story 
today  which  depressed  me.  He  said  that  on  the  plane  coming 
out  here,  he  decided  to  do  a  little  consumer  research  survey.  He 
asked  the  stewardess  to  ask  the  pilots  and  the  other  stewardesses 
and  some  of  the  passengers  on  the  airplane  what  they  thought  of 
LSD  and  what  questions  they  would  like  to  be  raised  at  a  LSD 
conference  of  this  sort.  The  pilot  sent  back  the  message,  "How 
do  you  kick  it?"  The  main  concern  of  these  middle-aged  persons 
was  how  punitive  should  the  laws  be  to  control  it.  But  to  young 
people  the  word  "drug"  means  something  quite  different.  If 
you  say  "drug"  to  a  young  person,  he  says,  "What  kind?  You 
mean  alcohol  that  my  parents  lush  up  on  every  weekend?  Do 
you  mean  heroin,  that  hang-up?  Do  you  mean  pep  pills  that  I 
use  before  exams?  Do  you  mean  pot  to  make  love?"  The  word 
"drug,"  of  course,  refers  to  an  enormous  range  of  human 
experience,  from  the  Buddhist  despair  of  the  drug  addict,  from 
the  hopelessness  of  the  alcoholic,  through  a  wide  variety  of 
positive  terms— energy,  fun,  religious  revelation,  sexual  enhance- 
ment, aesthetic  kick,  ecstasy,  accelerated  learning,  and  so  forth. 
There  is  one  factor  in  the  formula  to  predict  a  person's  reaction 
to  LSD  and  marijuana.  There  is  one  variable  which,  if  known, 
will  predict  better  than  anything  else  a  person's  reaction.  It  is 

About  6  weeks  ago  I  was  on  a  Boston  radio  program.  I  talked 
for  a  while,  and  then  people  phoned  in  questions.  The  station 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  339 

censored  the  calls  to  a  certain  extent.  They  wanted  to  keep  a 
balance  of  positive  and  negative  questions.  The  first  10  callers 
were  all  positive.  They  were  all  young  people,  and  they  were 
asking  serious,  jolly  questions  about  dosage,  about  oriental 
philosophy  and  psychology,  about  pharmacology,  about  scien- 
tific aspects  of  treatment  and  so  on,  except  for  one  of  these  10, 
who  was  an  Indian  philosopher  from  Boston  University  who 
said,  "What  the  hell  is  going  on  in  this  country?"  I  couldn't 
answer  that  question. 

But  then,  after  a  short  break,  the  unfriendly  and  critical  calls 
came.  It  was  very  obvious,  the  difference  in  ages.  Tremendously 
concerned  and  deeply  sincere  quavering  voices  of  the  middle- 
aged  and  the  elderly  accused  me  of  being  a  devil.  A  father  of 
teen-age  children  said  (in  a  heavy  whiskey  voice)  that  the 
station's  license  should  be  taken  away.  It  was  a  rather  eerie 
moment,  and  for  the  first  time  in  the  6  years  that  I  had  been 
working  with  psychedelic  drugs,  I  felt  an  animal  sensation  of 
fear  running  along  my  back  at  the  anguish  and  the  panic  and 
the  anger  that  was  aroused  in  these  aging  minds. 

The  Eerie  Power  of  Drugs 

Now,  why  is  there  this  fear,  concern  and  hope  centered  on  the 
word  "drug"?  I  want  to  suggest  some  answers. 

Consciousness  is  a  biochemical  process.  The  language  of  our 
nervous  systems,  the  language  of  our  sense  organs,  the  language 
of  our  cells,  the  language  of  the  genetic  code,  the  language  of 
memory,  is  chemical.  We  all  instinctively  know  this.  Somewhere 
deep  in  our  DNA  memory  banks  there  is  this  intuitive  knowl- 
edge that  chemicals  are  powerful,  that  chemicals  can  change, 
that  chemicals  are  the  key.  I  think  it's  no  accident  that  in  so 
many  myths  passed  down  from  generation  to  generation  there  is 
this  theme  of  the  magic  potion.  The  myth  is,  of  course,  cellular 
wisdom.  Symbols  change,  cultures  rise  and  fall,  but  as  long  as 
human  beings  have  had  these  kinds  of  bodies,  living  on  a  planet 
of  this  sort,  certain  myths  keep  appearing  and  reappearing.  And 
many  of  them  refer  to  the  magic  and  wonder  of  the  sacred  drug. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  340 

At  some  point  in  the  historic  quest  there  comes  the  old  crone 
with  the  potion.  The  old  wizard  with  the  elixir  of  life.  Or  it 
may  be  a  frog  or  an  animal  or  a  witch  with  a  cauldron  or  maybe 
a  fruit  or  vegetable  or  a  root  or  vine. 

Corollary  to  this  is  the  fact  that  control  of  chemicals  which 
change  the  mind  has  always  been  a  source  of  social  tension.  He 
who  controls  the  mind-changing  chemicals  controls  conscious- 
ness. He  who  controls  the  chemical  can  twist  your  mind,  can 
alter  your  personality,  can  change  you  and  your  concept  of  the 
world.  That's  why  there  has  always  been  this  tension  through- 
out history.  The  alchemist  in  his  laboratory  was  a  source  of  both 
wonder  and  fear.  The  man  who  can  turn  you  on  always  stands 
there  in  the  background  of  history.  The  aged  kings  of  Europe 
sent  their  vessels  out  looking  for  that  chemical.  Ponce  de  Leon 
in  Florida,  seeking  the  elixir  of  life. 

Everyone  Wants  to  Control  LSD 

In  our  time  the  straight  fact  of  the  matter  is  that  everyone 
wants  to  control  LSD  for  his  own  purpose.  The  researchers  will 
tell  you,  "Yes,  LSD  is  a  promising  drug  but  clearly  should  be 
the  property  of  investigators  only."  The  physician  will  say, 
"Well,  as  a  physician  I  will  say  that  only  the  medical  profession 
has  the  experience  and  responsibility  to  prescribe  these  chemi- 
cals for  other  people." 

Then  the  religious  people  (and  there  are  thousands  of  them 
who  are  involved  in  psychedelic  drug  research)  tell  you,  "Well, 
there's  no  question  that  the  psychedelic  experience  is  basically 
a  religious  experience,  but  I'm  concerned  about  all  these  young- 
sters taking  it,  because  it's  got  to  be  given  only  by  people  with  the 
most  serious  and  religious  motives  in  a  place  which  is  designed 
for  the  sacred  experience." 

Or  the  hippy  looks  at  the  scientists  with  amazement  and  says, 
"What  are  you  trying  to  map  and  study  and  predict  all  this  stuff 
for?  Just  turn  on,  man!  Enjoy  it!" 

Of  course,  even  the  people  who  do  not  want  to  use  LSD  want 
to  control  it  and  want  no  one  else  to  use  it. 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  341 

About  two  months  ago  I  was  in  Washington  testifying  before 
a  Senate  committee.  I  was  preceded  on  the  stand  by  one  Captain 
Trembly,  who  is  head  of  the  narcotics  bureau  of  the  Los 
Angeles  Police  Force.  Captain  Trembly  is  a  good  man  and  a 
sincere  man,  but  he  doesn't  know  what  he  is  talking  about.  He 
is  a  classic  example  of  the  communication  barrier  between  the 
generations.  Let  me  give  you  three  examples  of  the  breakdown 
in  communication. 

Did  You  Say,  Give  LSD  to  Her  l\/lotlier? 

I  came  to  Washington  on  this  occasion  with  my  two  teen-age 
children.  Captain  Trembly  told  a  story  of  a  bizarre  and  danger- 
ous LSD  experience  that  went  something  like  this.  "On  Febru- 
ary 18,  our  agents  arrested  seven  teen-agers  taking  LSD.  We 
took  them  to  the  station.  One  fifteen-year-old  girl  wished  to  go 
home  in  order  to  give  LSD  to  her  mother  in  her  coffee  cup  so 
that  they  could  reach  a  higher  level  of  communication." 
mother!  drug!  Senator  Dodd  looked  agape  at  Senator  Ken- 
nedy. "Did  you  say,  'Give  a  drug  to  her  mother?'  "  Drug.  Dope. 
Drug.  Doctor.  Disease.  Drug.  I  looked  over  at  my  son  and 
daughter,  and  we  nodded.  The  person  who  has  had  a  positive 
LSD  experience  naturally  wants  to  share  it  with  his  loved  ones. 
Of  course  this  daughter  wants  to  turn  on  her  mother. 

in  Defense  of  Eating  Baric  off  a  Tree 

Captain  Trembly  told  a  second  story.  He  said  his  agents  ar- 
rested two  men  on  a  lawn  in  Hollywood.  They  were  eating  grass 
and  bark  off  a  tree.  Senator  Dodd  said,  "Eating  grass!  Bark  off  a 
tree!"  Captain  Trembly  said,  "Yes,  and  one  of  them  was  a 
Princeton  man."  Well,  I  know  that  to  any  of  you  who  have  not 
taken  LSD  this  sounds  pretty  bizarre.  You  think  of  these  two 
men  with  a  knife  and  fork  and  a  plate  dining  on  grass  and  bark. 
Actually,  anyone  who  has  been  in  communication  with  his  cells 
realizes  that  from  the  standpoint  of  your  DNA  code  this  busi- 
ness of  eating  meat  is  really  a  fad  that  has  just  developed  in  the 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  342 

last  few  hundred  generations,  and  that  actually  the  DNA  code 
in  every  cell  in  your  body  has  been  designing  grass  and  bark 
eaters  for  about  a  million  generations,  that  plastic  steaks  from 
Safeway  still  don't  make  sense  to  my  cells.  Very  often  during  an 
LSD  session  a  person  does  take  a  flower,  take  grass,  take  bark 
and  reflectively  chew  it  and  relive  the  past.  It  looks  bizarre,  but 
it  makes  a  lot  of  sense  to  your  cells. 

The  Fuzz  Holds  the  Drug 

Captain  Trembly  then  did  a  third  thing  which  was  extremely 
interesting.  At  one  point  he  reached  in  his  bag  and  he  held  out 
a  bottle  and  he  said,  "This  is  LSD."  Perhaps  some  of  you  saw 
the  UPI  wirephoto  picture.  As  he  did  that,  I  was  led  to  specu- 
late. The  facts  of  the  matter  are  that  Captain  Trembly  was  the 
only  man  in  the  room  who  was  legally  allowed  to  do  that.  There 
were  no  doctors  in  the  room  with  that  special  public  health 
permit  to  give  LSD  in  a  mental  hospital  with  a  government 
grant.  There  was  no  one  in  the  room  with  a  legal  right  to  stand 
there  and  hold  that  bottle.  Senator  Dodd  could  not  do  it.  Even 
Senator  Kennedy!  Police  power  I 

Anything  which  changes  consciousness  is  a  threat  to  the 
established  order.  This  is  one  issue  on  which  the  entire  spec- 
trum of  political  opinions  agrees.  There's  one  place  where  you 
can  get  a  John  Bircher  to  vote  side  by  side  with  a  Communist. 
There's  one  place  where  right  and  left  agree.  Anything  which 
expands  consciousness  is  out!  You  have  the  strange  phenome- 
non in  California  of  both  Governor  Brown  and  Ronald  Reagan 
rushing  over  each  other  to  be  the  first  to  denounce  our  current 
key  to  the  spiritual  experience. 

Chemicals  Are  the  Keys  to  Changing  Consciousness 

Before  you  can  understand  or  discuss  the  politics  of  ecstasy,  you 
have  to  understand  the  anatomy  and  pharmacology  of  the 
different  levels  of  consciousness.  Consciousness  is  energy  re- 
ceived and  decoded  by  a  structure.  There  are  as  many  levels  of 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  343 

consciousness  in  the  human  body  as  there  are  anatomical  struc- 
tures to  receive  and  decode  energy.  Since  consciousness  is  a 
biochemical  process,  chemicals  are  the  keys  to  the  different 
levels  of  consciousness. 

This  is  the  dizzying  discovery  of  the  psychedelic  age.  There 
are  as  many  distinct  levels  of  consciousness  as  there  are  neural, 
anatomical,  cellular,  subcellular  structures  within  the  human 
body.  And  chemicals  to  turn  them  on. 

The  mystical  visionary  experience  no  longer  need  be  m- 
effable,  undescribable.  Consciousness  (energy)  is  based  on 
physical  and  physiological  structure.* 

The  explosion  of  the  psychedelic  age  is  directly  symmetrical 
with  the  multidimensional  expansion  of  external  science.  Five 
hundred  years  ago  man's  perspective  of  the  outside  world  was 
unidimensional— the  macroscopic  world  of  the  naked  eye, 
clearly  visible  or  dimmed  by  fog  or  smoke.  Then  the  invention 
of  magnifying  lenses  brought  into  focus  new  levels  of  reality. 
Each  new  magnification  structure  required  a  new  science,  a  new 
language  to  deal  with  the  new  level  of  reality  (formerly  invis- 
ible to  the  naked  eye) .  Microscope,  telescope,  electron  micro- 
scope, radio  telescope. 

Psychedelic  chemicals  perform  exactly  the  same  function  for 
inner  vision.  Each  class  of  drug  focuses  consciousness  on  a  new 
level  of  energy.  Each  level  of  drug  defines  a  new  science  and 
requires  a  new  language.** 

I  have  suggested  in  an  earlier  chapter  that  there  are  7  broad 
levels  of  consciousness,  each  brought  into  focus  by  specific 
chemicals  and  each  centered  on  structures  within  the  body. 

1.  Solar    (soul) :  Awareness  of  energy  transactions  among 

•  My  equating  consciousness  with  energy  is  based  on  my  own  psychedelic 
laboratory  observations.  I  have  been  interested  to  note  that  in  Tantric  Buddhism 
and  Tantric  Hinduism  the  key  term  vnarn  par  ses  pa  (or  vijnana)  can  be 
translated  "consciousness,"  "energy,"  "discrimination."  Cf.  Ageliananda  Bhar- 
ati's  profound  text.  The  Tantric  Tradition,  pp.  84-85. 

••It  will  be  obvious  to  the  alert  reader  that  this  is  a  restatement  of  the  an- 
cient Hermetic-alchemical  formula— "What  is  without  is  within."  Each  level  of 
energy  which  man  has  discovered  outside  exists  within  his  body  and  is  avail- 
able to  conscious  discrimination. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  344 

molecular  structures  inside  the  cell— triggered  off  by  large  doses 
(300  gammas)  of  LSD. 

2.  Cellular:  Awareness  of  energy  transactions  within  the  cell 
—triggered  off  by  moderate  doses  of  LSD,  large  doses  of  mesca- 
line, peyote,  psilocybin. 

3.  Somatic:  Awareness  of  energy  transactions  within  the 
neural  plexes  mediating  organ  systems— triggered  off  by  moder- 
ate doses  of  mescaline,  psilocybin,  MOA,  small  doses  of  LSD, 
large  doses  of  hashish. 

4.  Sensory:  Awareness  of  energy  transactions  within  endo- 
crine systems  and  neural  networks  concerned  with  sense  organs 
—triggered  off  by  marijuana. 

5.  Symbolic:  Awareness  of  energy  transactions  within  the 
endocrine  systems  and  cortical  areas  mediating  conditioned 
learning— triggered  off  by  seratonin,  coffee,  tea,  nicotine,  meth- 

6.  Stupor:  Awareness  of  energy  transactions  within  the  endo- 
crine systems  and  precortical  CNS  areas  mediating  affect  and 
emotion— triggered  off  by  alcohol. 

7.  Silence-sleep:  Unconsciousness  triggered  off  by  chemicals 
(narcotics)  which  affect  endocrine  systems  and  precortical  CNS 
areas  mediating  sleep  and  coma. 

Seven  new  sciences  of  psychedelic  psychology  are  thus  de- 

1.  Molecular  psychology  (psychophysics) 

2.  Cellular  psychology  (psychobiology) 

3.  Somatic  psychology  (psychophysiology) 

4.  Sensory  psychology  (sensory  physiology) 

5.  Learning  psychology  (psychoengineering) 

6.  Emotional  psychology  (psychopolitics) 

7.  Psychology  of  the  unconsciousness  (psychoanesthesiology, 

These  levels  of  consciousness  and  the  relationships  between 
certain  drugs  and  each  level  of  consciousness  are,  of  course, 
hypothetical.  Psychedelic  pharmacology  and  psychedelic  neu- 
rology will  refine  and  revise  these  speculations.  The  value  of 
these  hypotheses  is  that  they  are  cast  in  operational,  concrete. 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  345 

objective  language.  Take,  for  example,  the  statement:  "Mari- 
juana alters  the  biochemistry  of  the  neural  plexes  mediating 
sense  organs."  This  is  a  heuristic  statement,  i.e.,  it  suggests  a 
specific  set  of  experiments.  My  language  and  my  hypotheses  are 
superior  to  the  current  language  of  psychopharmacology,  which 
is  bogged  down  in  vague  prescientific  abstractions  such  as 
"Marijuana  is  an  intoxicant"  or  "Cannabis  is  a  euphoriant." 

I  don't  care  if  my  hypotheses  are  confirmed.  I  do  care  that 
pharmacologists  and  neurologists  abandon  their  superstitions, 
moralistic  language,  and  start  studying  the  specific  relationships 
between  neural  centers  and  different  psychedelic  drugs. 

My  task  is  not  to  be  found  "right"  but  to  found  the  right 
sciences  with  appropriate  linguistic  sophistication  to  relate  ex- 
ternal events  to  systematically  defined  inner  observations. 

In  the  near  future,  each  of  these  psychedelic  sciences  will  be 
as  complex  and  will  involve  as  many  scholars,  technicians, 
educators  as  biology,  physics,  engineering. 

Molecular  psychology,  studying  the  interactions  between  the 
nervous  system  and  molecular  events  inside  the  body,  will  be  as 
important  as  physics. 

Each  of  these  seven  broad  classes  of  inquiry  will  be  divided 
into  the  obvious  subclasses.  Sensory  psychology,  for  example, 
will  include  the  following  divisions: 

psychedel  ic— optics 

psychedelic— acoustics 

psychedel  ic— tactics 

psychedelic— olfaction 

psychedelic— gustation 

psychedelic— kinesthetics 

Students  will  specialize  in  these  fields.  Enormous  industries 
will  be  devoted  to  the  production  of  the  precisely  formulated 
external  energies  which  are  required  by  the  tutored  sense  or- 
gans of  a  turned-on  populace. 

In  our  present  primitive  state  we  have  industries  devoted  to 
the  production  of  the  state  of  consciousness  which  I  call  level  6: 
emotional  stupor.  The  liquor  industry  manufactures  the  chemi- 
cals and  then  sponsors  the  appropriate  art  form— TV  shows 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  346 

which  are  perfectly  tuned  to  emotional  stupor.  Aggressive, 
competitive  athletic  and  political  spectacles  comprise  the  art 
form  for  the  stuporous  level  of  consciousness.  The  consumer  is 
guaranteed  a  show  of  violence— heady  sadistic  victory  for  the 
winners,  masochism  for  the  losers,  and  another  beer  all  around. 

Is  it,  therefore,  so  far  out  to  predict  that  in  the  near  future  a 
billion-dollar  marijuana  industry  will  sponsor  art  spectacles 
which  will  stimulate  and  coordinate  with  level  4— sensory 
awareness?  The  sensor-consumer  will  light  up  and  then  be 
entranced  by  mixed-media  television  art  shows  with  erotic- 
meditative-Zen  patterning  designed  for  level  4  reception. 

The  cellular  level  of  consciousness  tapping  the  2-bill ion-year- 
old  pool  of  DNA  memories  will  involve  the  most  complex  form 
of  intellectual  challenge  and  artistic  involvement.  You  pop  your 
level  2  pill,  turn  on  your  genetic  memories,  and  take  a  specified 
reincarnation  trip  guided  by  a  carefully  worked  out,  multi- 
channel, multisensory,  MV  (multivision)  show,  sponsored,  of 
course,  by  the  Minnesota  Mescaline  Company. 

Each  level  of  consciousness  will  require  its  own  art  form.  The 
7  fine  arts  of  the  future  will  be: 

1.  Soletics— atomic-nuclear  dramas 

2.  Genetics— evolutionary  dramas 

3.  Som-aesthetics— bodily  dramas 

4.  Aesthetics  (erotics)  —sensory  dramas 

5.  Ascetics— intellectual  dramas 

6.  Athletics  (politics)  —emotional  dramas 

7.  Anesthetics— escape  dramas 

Psychedelic  Science 

During  the  next  few  hundred  years  the  major  activity  of  man 
will  be  scientific  exploration  of  and  education  in  the  many  new 
universes  of  awareness  which  have  been  opened  up  by  psyche- 
delic drugs.  Man's  inner  fabric,  his  moist  cellular  terrain,  his  2- 
billion-year-old  unfolding  pattern,  is  exactly  as  complex  as  the 
outer  world. 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  347 

Just  as  the  instruments  of  external  discovery  have  revolu- 
tionized society,  so  will  the  instruments  of  inner  discovery. 

Psychedelic  Work 

The  key  concept  of  the  psychedelic  revolution  is  work— ecstatic 
work.  This  central  point  is  missed  by  enthusiastic  acidheads  as 
well  as  horrified  burghers,  each  deluding  the  other  with  the 
notion  of  escape  and  naughty  pleasure. 

The  ancient  paradox  remains.  The  more  freedom,  the  more 
responsibility.  The  more  energy  released,  the  more  structure  is 

Psychedelic  drugs  require  much  more  discipline  and  know- 
how  than  turn-off  drugs. 

Narcotics  are  escape  drugs.  They  require  no  disciplined  train- 
ing. Anyone  can  shoot  up  and  nod  out.  Narcotics  are  blindfolds. 

Alcohol  requires  little  training.  Very  quickly  each  person 
learns  what  booze  can  do,  where  it  can  take  him.  Each  person 
develops  a  crude  emotional  repertoire  tied  to  his  drinking.  In 
any  case,  drink  a  quart  of  whiskey  and  you'll  be  flat  on  your 
back.  There  are  7  million  alcoholics  in  the  United  States  and  14 
million  more  Americans  who  lurch  through  each  evening  in  a 
heavy  emotional  stupor.  Alcohol  is  like  dark  glasses. 

Coffee,  tea,  nicotine,  methamphetamine  require  no  training 
for  use.  These  drugs  do  provide  more  physical  energy  to  play 
the  conditioned  chess  game  of  reward  and  punishment.  Heavy 
use  of  stimulants  produces  a  jagged,  irritable  state  of  mild 
paranoia.  The  coffee-drinking,  chain-smoking  housewife  paces 
the  floor,  twisting,  twisting  the  black  threads  of  her  mental 
marionettes.  "Speed"  guns  the  heavy  mental  truck  faster,  faster 
down  crowded  highways  to  the  next  empty  city. 

The  Discipline  of  Marijuana 

Marijuana  requires  extensive  training.  You  don't  get  the  auto- 
matic chemical  hit  from  grass.  The  marijuana  high  involves  a 
subtle  interplay  between  the  turned-on  sense  organ  and  the 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  348 

external  stimuli  that  bombard  it.  To  learn  how  to  use  mari- 
juana, you  have  to  learn  to  use  your  sense  organs.  To  listen  to 
music  behind  grass,  you  have  to  log  as  much  training  time  as 
would  be  required  to  understand  and  build  a  hi-fi  audio  system. 

Few  nonsmokers  understand  the  sensory  training  necessary  to 
groove  with  grass. 

For  the  average  adult,  sense  organs  are  game-playing  cameras 
to  pick  up  the  cues  of  the  game— red  or  black  pieces  on  the 
checkerboard.  The  eye  is  clearly  made  to  read  the  newspaper 
and  the  ear  is  clearly  made  to  listen  to  the  telephone.  The 
atrophied  sense  of  taste  is  connected  with  the  fueling  process  of 
the  robot.  The  body  itself  is  a  machine  to  move  you  through  the 
sequence  of  chess  game  movements  that  make  up  your  symbolic 

The  neurological  fact  of  the  matter  is  that  the  eye  is  a  multi- 
layered  swamp  of  millions,  hundreds  of  millions,  of  rods  and 
cones,  each  one  of  which  is  equipped  to  receive  light  waves  and 
to  fire  off  an  orgiastic  belt  when  it  gets  hit  by  a  light  wave.  You 
never  see  any  "thing"  or  any  object.  From  the  standpoint  of 
your  retina  there  is  just  light  bouncing  off  my  face,  off  the 
microphone,  off  the  blackboard.  Light!  Light,  hurtling  into  the 
retina  of  your  eye,  the  soft  naked  swamp  of  rods  and  cones,  at 
the  speed  of  186,000  miles  a  second!  Wow! 

That's  why  artists  enjoy  using  cannabis.  Because  they  are  not 
just  seeing  things.  They  are  aware  of  and  alert  to  this  play  of 
light.  One  of  the  first  reactions  to  the  psychedelic  experience  is, 
"Why,  colors  are  so  bright!  The  world  seems  alive!  I'm  seeing 
for  the  first  time!  It's  alive!  It's  alive!"  Well,  of  course  it's  alive! 
Your  eye  knew  that  all  along.  It's  alive  because  it's  nothing  but 
pure  light  energy  smashing  into  your  retina.  And  those  of  you 
who  have  seen  a  psychedelic  light  show  have  some  idea  of  what 
the  psychedelic  visual  experience  is.  It's  not  just  a  sequence  of 
tidy  symbols  one  after  another  but  an  inundation,  a  Niagara  of 
light  energy. 

There  is  no  optical  instrument  that  man  will  ever  make  that 
is  so  delicate  and  intricate  as  the  retina  of  the  eye.  And  the 
challenge  is,  can  you  learn  how  to  use  it?  The  same  thing  is  true 
of  the  ear.  The  same  thing  is  true  of  all  the  sense  organs.  The 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  349 

human  body,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  is  a  collection  of  billions  and 
billions  of  cameras,  all  ready  to  be  focused,  all  ready  to  be 
turned  on,  to  be  harmonized  and  symphonized  by  the  skillful 
user  of  this  machine.  I  am  convinced  that  very  few  people  in  the 
United  States  know  how  to  use  marijuana. 

The  use  of  the  senses  or  the  enhancement  of  the  senses  comes 
as  a  shock  in  our  puritan  American  culture.  We  are  a  prudish 
people.  It  may  surprise  many  Americans  to  learn  that  sensual 
training  has  for  many  thousands  of  years  been  a  key  spiritual 
technique  in  almost  every  religion  in  the  world.  If  it  sounds 
strange  to  you  that  the  road  to  God  comes  through  the  senses, 
think  about  the  Gothic  cathedral.  Consider  the  sequence  of 
behavior  that  the  medieval  person  went  through  when  he 
walked  in  a  Gothic  cathedral,  that  glorious  instrument  for 
turning  on.  First  he  centered  his  eye  on  that  rose  window,  a 
mandala.  Then  the  incense  began  exploding  like  grenades  in 
the  olfactory  bulbs  in  his  nose  with  that  one  key  message— it's 
not  food,  boy,  it's  not  business,  this  is  incense,  the  smell  of  God. 
The  arrangement  of  the  posture  of  the  body,  the  mudra,  the 
genuflection,  or  gesture  of  prayer,  is  a  kinesthetic  sign  that  you 
are  centering  your  sensual  energies  to  look  within.  The  Gregor- 
ian chant,  like  the  classic  religious  music  of  India  and  Persia, 
gets  that  drone  going  to  remind  you  that  this  is  a  nongame 
process.  That  you  are  going  within.  If  it  seems  surprising  to  you 
that  marijuana  can  be  considered  as  a  key  to  the  spiritual 
experience,  don't  forget  that  there  are  200  million  people  in  the 
world  today  who  use  marijuana  regularly  in  their  spiritual  life 
or  in  their  pursuit  of  serenity. 

In  terms  of  the  optical  metaphor,  marijuana  is  the  corrective 
lens  which  returns  vision  to  sharp,  clear  focus. 

The  Discipline  of  Somatic  Ecstasy 

As  one  moves  up  the  psychochemical  continuum  away  from 
narcosis,  more  training  is  required.  Thus  the  drugs  which  turn 
on  the  somatic  level  of  consciousness  (level  3)  demand  more 
psychedelic  work  than  marijuana  (level  4) . 

Hashish,  MDA,  moderate  doses  of  mescaline  and  psilocybin 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  350 

open  awareness  to  messages  from  the  autonomic  nervous  system, 
signals  from  the  great  organs  and  tissue  centers  within  the  body. 

The  average  Westerner  is  aware  only  of  the  grossest  emer- 
gency messages  from  within.  Hunger!  Pain!  Suffocation!  And 
Western  psychology  is  equally  ignorant  of  the  long  tradition  of 
empirical  investigations  of  psychedelic  somatics  by  oriental  psy- 
chologists. Tan  trie  scholars  (Hindu  and  Buddhist)  have  been 
describing  and  mapping  somatic  sensations  for  thousands  of 
years.  Elaborate  and  highly  sophisticated  manuals  teach  the 
science  of  somatic  ecstasy.  Tantrics  call  the  centers  of  bodily 
consciousness  cakras.  The  student  is  taught  methods  for  turning 
on  to  this  level  of  consciousness  and  systematic  languages  of 
color,  sound,  posture  and  symbol  to  communicate  his  obser- 

Modem  neurology  confirms  the  psychedelic  scientific  ex- 
plorations of  the  Tantrics.  The  brain,  through  the  mediation  of 
the  autonomic  nervous  system,  is  in  constant  communication 
with  somatic  events.  Your  brain  receives  second-to-second  tele- 
type messages  from  your  respiratory  and  circulatory  systems.  It 
is  ironic  that  we  seem  to  require  the  external  probing  of 
physicians  to  guess  at  diagnoses  which  are  already  coded  by  our 
own  brains. 

It  is  quite  possible  that  within  a  decade,  turned-on  doctors 
will  be  giving  level  3  psychedelics  (like  hashish)  to  patients, 
who  will  then  be  taught  how  to  diagnose  their  own  somatic 

The  Highest  Kick  Requires  the  IMost  Woric 

The  sensory  level  of  consciousness  is  limited  to  the  few  sense 
organs  by  means  of  which  man  makes  his  fumbling  contact  with 
the  external  world.  The  somatic  level  of  consciousness  is  limited 
to  the  organs  and  tissue  centers  of  the  body. 

The  cellular  level  of  consciousness  puts  man  in  touch  with 
the  DNA  chain,  which  goes  back  to  the  origins  of  life.  It  is 
possible  for  man  to  tap  into  the  unbroken  wire  of  evolution,  to 
decode  fragments  of  the  coiling  blueprint.  Most  people  who 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  351 

have  taken  large  doses  of  mescaline  or  moderate  amounts  of  LSD 
have  clicked  into  the  reincarnation  line.  The  response  to  this 
experience  is  usually  awed  reverence,  expressed  in  vague  and 
corny  religious  mottoes.  "We  are  all  one!"  "We  are  all  leaves  on 
the  tree  of  life!" 

Few  hippies  have  understood  the  genetic  implications  of  this 
experience  and  have  realized  that  a  new  science  of  internal 
paleontology,  ecstatic  archaeology,  has  begun. 

When  I  hear  worried  speculations  about  how  man  will  use  his 
leisure  time  in  the  automation  age,  I  fail  to  alarm.  The  retracing 
of  genetic  memories  back  down  through  the  myriad,  multi- 
webbed  fabric  of  RNA-DNA  memories  will  be  the  major  intel- 
lectual-ecstatic task  of  the  future.  The  time  will  come  within  a 
century  when  an  educated  man  will  be  he  who  knows  who  he  is 
and  where  he  comes  from.  Knows  on  the  basis  of  direct  psyche- 
delic experience. 

The  level  2  psychedelic  chemicals  are  the  microscopes  of 
internal  biology. 

The  use  of  level  1  drugs— LSD  and  STP— involves  the  knowl- 
edge of  the  advanced  nuclear  physicist.  While  almost  everyone 
who  ingests  500  gamma  of  LSD  gets  the  solar  vision,  there  is 
probably  only  one  person  in  a  thousand  with  the  diligence  and 
courage  to  understand  and  control  the  internal  nuclear  fission 
released  by  this  miraculous  chemical.  LSD  is  the  elecron  micro- 
scope of  psychology. 

The  "My  God  Is  Better  Than  Your  God"  Game 

One  of  the  vexing  social  problems  in  the  expansion  and  ex- 
ploration of  consciousness  is  this:  everyone  has  his  favorite  level 
of  consciousness.  One  naturally  locates  God  and  all  virtue  in 
one's  own  favorite  level  of  consciousness.  The  junkie  does  it  at 
the  level  of  complete  void.  The  symbol-addictive  person  locates 
God  and  the  meaning  of  everything  in  the  center  of  his  mental 

Many  religions  have  been  founded  on  revelations  from  the 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  352 

sensory  level  of  consciousness.  Certain  forms  of  Zen,  the  Hindu 
and  Tibetan  Tantra,  early  Christianity,  frankly  and  studiously 
used  the  senses  to  find  inner  meaning  and  divinity.  And  most  of 
these  God  seekers  criticize,  condemn,  and  imprison  those  who 
do  not  follow  their  favored  turn-on  method. 

The  classic  Buddhist,  of  course,  says  frankly  and  straight  off 
that  he  is  not  interested  in  the  senses,  that  he  is  not  interested  in 
the  symbol  game,  that  he  is  not  interested  in  the  cellular 
transformations  of  the  DNA  code  and  that  long,  repetitious 
spinning  out  of  bodies.  He  wants  to  get  off  the  wheel  of  life. 
The  goal  of  the  Buddhist  is  the  white  light  of  the  void,  level  1, 
the  silent  prelife,  preorganic  off. 

The  "White  Light  of  the  Void"  Game 

One  time  we  were  running  a  training  center  in  Mexico.  That 
year  we  were  using  a  Buddhist  text,  the  Tibetan  Book  of  the 
Dead,  as  our  psychedelic  map.  The  aim  of  the  game  was  to  move 
from  stupor  to  symbol  to  sense  to  cell  and  finally  to  arrive  at 
home  base,  the  white  light  of  the  void.  So  we  proceeded  to  do  as 
human  beings  always  do;  we  set  up  a  hierarchical  game.  All 
sorts  of  invidious,  competitive  distinctions  developed.  "Well,  I 
was  in  the  white  light  3  hours  in  my  session  last  night."  "Oh, 
you  didn't  make  it  at  all?" 

We  are  a  species  endowed  and  equipped  with  incredibly  soft 
machinery  which  has  taken  the  DNA  code  2  billion  years  to 
develop,  and  we  live  on  a  planet  with  an  enormous  range  of 
energies,  light,  sound,  chemical,  around  us.  The  aim  of  human 
education,  it  seems  to  me,  is  to  learn  how  to  use  all  of  these 
levels  of  consciousness,  just  as  the  person  skilled  in  optics  is  able 
to  shift  focus  from  the  dark  glasses  to  the  cellular  microscope  to 
the  electron  microscope,  which  reduces  everything  to  a  dancing 
mosaic  of  vibrations,  and  then  slip  on  his  corrective  lenses  to 
drive  home. 

Be  very  careful  about  locating  good  or  God,  right  or  wrong, 
legal  or  illegal,  at  your  favorite  level  of  consciousness. 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  353 

The  Politics  off  Ecstasy 

This  mention  of  good,  right,  and  legal  brings  me  to  the  final 
part  of  my  essay,  the  politics  of  ecstasy. 

To  understand  the  current  controversy  over  LSD  and  mari- 
juana, I  think  you  have  to  realize  that  we  are  right  in  the 
middle  of  that  most  amazing  social  phenomenon,  a  religious 
renaissance.  The  LSD  experience  is,  and  the  marijuana  experi- 
ence can  be,  a  deeply  spiritual  event.  The  LSD  kick  is  a 
spiritual  ecstasy.  The  LSD  trip  is  a  religious  pilgrimage.  The 
LSD  gamble  is  that  risk  that  men  have  faced  for  thousands  of 
years  if  they  wished  to  pursue  what  lay  beyond  their  minds.  The 
LSD  psychosis  is  a  religious  confusion,  an  ontological  confusion, 
a  spiritual  crisis.  What  is  real?  Who  am  I?  Where  do  I  belong? 
What's  the  real  level  of  energy?  Can  I  go  back?  Should  I  go 
back?  Should  I  go  on?  How  many  of  you  can  answer  those 

When  you  hear  about  or  read  about  a  lurid  account  of  an 
LSD  psychosis,  keep  this  hypothesis  in  mind.  It  may  be  pathol- 
ogy, but  it  might  be  divine  madness. 

Turn  On,  Tune  In,  Drop  Out 

My  advice  to  people  in  America  today  is  as  follows:  If  you  take 
the  game  of  life  seriously,  if  you  take  your  nervous  system 
seriously,  if  you  take  your  sense  organs  seriously,  if  you  take  the 
energy  process  seriously,  you  must  turn  on,  tune  in  and  drop 

Turning  On 

By  "turn  on"  I  mean  get  in  touch,  first  of  all,  with  your  sense 
organs  (not  as  instruments  to  be  used  in  some  secular  game,  but 
as  cameras  to  put  you  in  touch  with  the  vibrant  energies  around 
you) .  Get  in  touch  with  your  cellular  wisdom.  Get  in  touch 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  354 

with  the  universe  within.  The  only  way  out  is  in.  And  the  way 
to  find  the  wisdom  within  is  to  turn  on. 

Now  turning  on  is  not  an  easy  thing  to  do.  In  the  first  place, 
it  takes  courage  to  go  out  beyond  your  mind.  The  psychedelic 
yoga  is  the  toughest,  most  demanding  yoga  of  all.  The  easy 
thing  to  do  is  to  stay  with  your  addiction,  stay  with  the  symbol 
system  you  have.  As  you  expand  your  symbol  system  from  year 
to  year  by  building  up  a  few  conditioned  reflexes,  you  learn  a 
few  new  words,  a  few  new  techniques  each  year.  You  will  say, 
*'Well,  I'm  growing.  I'm  learning."  But  you  are  still  caught  in 
symbols.  The  psychedelic  road  to  divinity  is  neither  a  royal  nor 
an  easy  one.  As  I  said  earlier,  to  learn  how  to  use  your  sense 
organs  with  the  help  of  marijuana  is  a  very  exacting  discipline. 
The  discipline  of  LSD  is  without  doubt  the  most  complex  and 
demanding  task  that  man  on  this  planet  has  yet  confronted.  I 
often  tell  college  students,  "If  you  want  to  get  a  Ph.D.,  count  on 
4  years  after  you  graduate.  If  you  want  to  get  an  M.D.,  count  on 
6  or  8  after  your  A.B.  But  for  your  LSD,  count  on  30  years  at 

Tuning  In 

By  "tune  in"  I  mean  harness  your  internal  revelations  to  the 
external  world  around  you.  I  am  not  suggesting  that  we  all  find 
a  desert  island  and  curl  up  under  a  palm  tree  and  take  LSD  and 
study  our  navels.  As  I  look  around  at  the  people  who  have  taken 
LSD,  far  from  being  inactive,  lazy  and  passive,  I  see  them  in 
every  walk  of  life  and  in  every  age  group,  struggling  to  express 
what  they  are  learning.  The  hippy  movement,  the  psychedelic 
style,  involves  a  revolution  in  our  concepts  of  art  and  creativity 
which  is  occurring  right  before  our  eyes.  The  new  music,  the 
new  poetry,  the  new  visual  art,  the  new  film. 

Dropping  Out 

"Dropping  out"  is  the  toughest  pill  to  swallow.  Whenever  I 
give  a  lecture  and  tell  people  to  drop  out,  invariably  I  alarm 
many  listeners,  including  my  friends,  who  say,  "Now  listen. 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  355 

Timothy,  tone  it  down.  You  can't  go  around  telling  students  to 
drop  out  of  school,  telling  middle-class  men  with  mortgage 
payments  to  drop  out  of  their  jobs.  That's  just  too  much!  You 
can't  do  that  in  a  technological  society  like  this!"  Of  course,  this 
message,  turn  on,  tune  in  and  drop  out,  just  happens  to  be  the 
oldest  message  around— the  old  refrain  that  has  been  passed  on 
for  thousands  of  years  by  every  person  who  has  studied  the 
energy  process  and  man's  place  in  it.  Find  the  wisdom  within, 
hook  it  up  in  a  new  way,  but  above  all,  detach  yourself.  Unhook 
the  ambitions  and  the  symbolic  drives  and  the  mental  connec- 
tions which  keep  you  addicted  and  tied  to  the  immediate  tribal 

Is  our  American  society  so  insecure  that  it  cannot  tolerate  our 
young  people  taking  a  year  or  two  off,  growing  beards,  wander- 
ing around  the  country,  fooling  with  new  forms  of  conscious- 
ness? This  is  one  of  the  oldest  traditions  in  civilized  society. 
Take  a  voyage!  Take  the  adventure!  Before  you  settle  down  to 
the  tribal  game,  try  out  self-exile.  Your  coming  back  will  be 
much  enriched. 

The  Psychedelic  Migration 

Today  we  face  a  problem  which  is  unique  in  man's  history.  Due 
to  the  population  explosion,  there  is  no  place  for  people  like  us 
to  go.  During  the  summer  of  1963  a  group  of  us  were  deported 
from  3  countries  to  which  we  had  gone  to  find  a  quiet  place 
where  we  could  teach  ourselves  and  a  small  group  of  other 
people  how  to  use  our  nervous  systems.  We  made  no  demands 
on  these  countries.  We  actually  brought  money  into  these  shaky 
economies,  but  we  were  barred.  So  as  we  looked  around  this 
planet,  pored  over  maps  and  atlases  that  summer,  it  dawned  on 
us  that  today,  for  the  first  time  in  human  history,  there  was  no 
place  for  people  like  us  to  go. 

A  hundred  years  ago,  people  who  believed  as  we  do  in  the 
spiritual  life  would  get  into  covered  wagons  and  move  across  the 
prairie.  The  Mormons  did  it.  Or  300  years  ago,  people  like  us 
got  into  leaky  boats  and  sailed  for  Plymouth  Rock.  And  the  fact 
of  the  matter  is,  there  are  many  more  people  today  who  wish  to 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  356 

follow  a  psychedelic  way  of  life  than  there  were  Puritans  in 
England  who  colonized  this  country.  There  are  probably  more 
in  the  city  of  San  Francisco. 

External  migration  as  a  way  of  finding  a  place  where  you  can 
drop  out  and  turn  on  and  then  tune  in  to  the  environment  is  no 
longer  possible.  The  only  place  to  go  is  in.  And  that's  the 
fascinating  thing  about  this  new  and  indigenous  religious 
movement  which  is  springing  up  in  this  country  today.  It  is 
interesting,  too,  that  the  psychedelic  religious  movement  uses 
the  same  chemical  aids  or  sacraments  as  the  first  American 
religion— the  peyote  religion  of  the  native  American  Indians.  I 
wonder  if  this  is  an  accident  or  rather,  perhaps,  a  curious  game 
of  the  DNA  code. 

The  characteristics  of  the  psychedelic-spiritual  quest  are 
these:  it's  highly  individual,  highly  personal.  You  will  find  no 
temples,  you  will  find  no  organized  dogmas;  you  will  find 
instead  small  groups  of  people,  usually  centered  on  families, 
making  these  voyages  together.  We  have  discovered,  as  men 
have  discovered  for  thousands  of  years,  that  the  only  temple  is 
the  human  body  and  the  place  of  worship  is  the  shrine  within 
your  own  home,  prepared  and  lovingly  designed  for  your  spiri- 
tual procedure.  The  growth  of  LSD  use  in  this  country  in  the 
last  few  years  is,  if  I  dare  say  so,  a  minor  miracle  in  itself.  It  has 
grown  without  any  institutional  backing  or  even  recognition  or 
approval.  For  the  first  3  or  4  years  it  grew  silently,  person  by 
person,  cell  by  cell,  husband  and  wife,  you  and  your  friends.  My 
cells  tell  me  that  that's  how  everything  durable  grows.  That's 
how  it's  always  been. 

When  I  say  that  the  LSD  movement  is  highly  individual,  I  do 
not  want  you  to  think  that  I  am  talking  about  individuality  in 
the  personality  sense.  John  Doe.  Or  Timothy  Leary.  I  am  saying 
rather  that  it's  all  located  inside. 

My  Nervous  System  and  Yours  Is  the  Hinge  of  Evolution 

From  the  genetic  point  of  view,  your  nervous  system  and  my 
nervous  system  is  a  hinge,  a  curious  cellular  hinge  on  which  all 
of  evolutionary   history   pivots.   The   cosmic   Fox   Movietone 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  357 

newsreel  camera.  Turn  your  nervous  system  on  and  focus  it 
outside  and  you're  tuning  in  on  all  sorts  of  messages  and  energy 
constellations  that  are  out  there,  here  and  now.  But  if  you  focus 
your  nervous  system  within,  you  will  decode  the  cellular  script 
and  discover  that  the  entire  string  of  evolution  on  this  planet  is 
writ  in  protein  molecules  inside  the  nucleus  of  every  cell  in 
your  body. 

Be  God  and  the  Universe 

Now  here  is  the  challenge.  And  it's  the  toughest  and  the  most 
exciting  challenge  that  I  can  think  of.  It  is  possible  for  you  (in  a 
way,  you  might  say  it  is  your  duty)  to  recapitulate  personally 
the  entire  evolutionary  sequence.  In  other  words,  you  can  flash 
through  the  whole  cycle  yourself  because  the  whole  thing  is 
buried  inside  your  body. 

Every  generation  lives  the  old  drama  out  over  and  over  again. 
Every  person  can.  The  challenge  is  for  you  to  become  your  own 
priest.  For  you  to  become  your  own  doctor.  For  you  to  become 
your  own  researcher  on  consciousness.  Researcher.  Now  there's 
a  tricky  symbol.  Research.  The  cop-out  cliche  is  to  say  that 
research  is  needed  in  LSD.  Who  dares  to  say  he  is  against  re- 
search in  LSD?  Should  LSD  be  turned  over  to  the  research 
scientists  to  study  the  implication  and  possibility  of  the  experi- 
ence? Nope.  You  cannot  get  off  that  easy.  No  government 
research  project,  no  medically  controlled  scientific  study,  is 
going  to  solve  your  spiritual  or  emotional  problems.  And  re- 
member: the  textbooks  only  tell  you  what  you  have  to  discover 
yourself.  Have  you  ever  personally  experienced  that  the  world 
is  round  and  whirls  around  the  sun?  Please  do  not  wait  around 
in  the  hope  that  others  will  do  it  for  you.  The  medical  profes- 
sion has  had  LSD  for  23  years.  And  it  has  not  come  up  with  a 
use  for  it  yet.  And  I  do  not  blame  the  doctors.  The  psychedelic 
chemicals  which  expand  consciousness  are  just  not  medical 
problems.  LSD  has  nothing  to  do  with  disease  or  sickness. 

When  people  talk  about  research  on  LSD,  I  have  a  little 
formula  I  go  through  in  my  mind.  Talking  about  LSD  is  like 
talking  about  sex.  Now  I  am  not  against  research  on  LSD  and  I 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  358 

am  not  against  research  on  sex.  If  some  scientists  want  to  hook 
people  up  and  study  the  external  manifestations  of  their  in- 
ternal experiences  and  if  some  people  are  willing  to  be  hooked 
up  and  be  studied  by  scientists  during  sexual  or  psychedelic 
moments,  fine.  But  the  psychedelic  experience  is  an  intimate, 
personal,  and  sacred  one.  And  you,  and  you,  and  you,  the 
individual  man  and  woman,  are  the  only  one  to  do  this  re- 
search. And  we  cannot  wait  around,  dealing  with  energies 
which  are  so  insistent  and  important,  until  scientists  or  govern- 
ment agencies  tell  us  that  we  can  take  that  risk. 

Drop  Out  into  What? 

Turn  on,  tune  in  and  drop  out.  I  want  to  be  very  clear  about 
the  term  "drop  out."  I  don't  mean  external  dropping  out.  I 
certainly  don't  mean  acts  of  rebellion  or  irresponsibility  to  any 
social  situation  you  are  involved  in.  But  I  urge  any  of  you  who 
are  serious  about  life,  who  are  serious  about  your  nervous  sys- 
tem or  your  spiritual  future,  to  start  right  now  planning  how 
you  can  harmoniously,  sequentially,  lovingly  and  gracefully  de- 
tach yourself  from  the  social  commitments  to  which  you  are  ad- 

Well,  what  do  you  do  after  you  drop  out?  This  question  was 
asked.  A  young  man  in  the  audience  said,  "Well,  it's  all  right 
for  you  older,  middle-aged  fellows  to  go  around  lecturing  on 
LSD,  but  what  do  we  young  people  do?"  There's  so  much  you 
can  do  that  it  makes  me  dizzy  to  think  about  it.  First  of  all,  i£ 
you  are  serious  about  this  business,  you  should  find  a  spiritual 
teacher.  Find  someone  that  knows  more  about  consciousness 
than  you  and  study  with  him.  And  if  he  is  a  good  teacher,  he 
will  teach  you  all  he  knows  and  tell  you  when  he  cannot  teach 
you  any  more,  and  then  maybe  you  can  start  teaching  him  or 
you  will  both  go  on  your  separate  ways.  But  there's  a  tremen- 
dous amount  of  information  which  has  been  stored  up  for  the 
last  3,000  or  4,000  years  by  men  who  have  been  making  this 
voyage  and  who  have  left  landmarks,  guidebooks,  footsteps  in 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  359 

the  sand,  symbols  and  rituals  which  can  be  learned  from  and 

Another  thing  you  can  do  is  to  be  careful  with  whom  you 
spend  your  time.  Every  human  interaction  is  an  incredible 
confrontation  of  several  levels  of  consciousness.  The  average 
civilized  human  confrontation  is,  "I  bring  my  checkerboard  to 
you,  and  you  bring  your  chessboard  to  me,  and  we  start  moving 
pieces  around.  If  we  are  cultured  and  civilized,  I  will  let  you 
make  a  few  moves  on  your  board,  and  then  you  will  watch  me 
play  for  a  while.  If  we  get  very,  very  intimate  and  have  a  deep 
relationship,  we  might  get  to  the  point  where  I'll  put  some  of 
my  symbols  on  your  board  and  you  will  put  some  of  your 
symbols  on  my  board." 

Anyone  you  meet  is  automatically  going  to  come  on  to  you 
with  a  fierce  symbol  system.  And  tremendous  neurological  iner- 
tia takes  over.  There  is  a  conditioned-reflex  training  which  pulls 
you  into  the  other  person's  game  at  the  same  time  that  you  are 
pulling  him  into  your  game.  The  more  I  study  the  neurology  of 
the  psychedelic  experience,  the  more  awed  and  amazed  I  am  at 
what  we  do  with  and  to  each  other's  nervous  systems. 

Only  a  Tiny  Bit  of  You  Is  Policeman 

Well,  what  happens  if  you  drop  out  and  leave  school  and  leave 
your  jobs?  (And  by  the  way,  I  address  here  not  just  the  young 
people,  but  the  researchers  and  the  doctors  and  the  police 
investigators  here  in  the  audience.  You  know,  only  a  tiny  bit  of 
you  is  policeman,  only  a  tiny  bit  of  you  is  doctor.)  If  you  want 
to  drop  out  of  your  nonlove  game  and  tune  in  to  life  and  take 
some  of  these  questions  seriously,  you  do  not  have  to  go  on 
welfare  or  go  around  with  a  begging  bowl.  The  odd  thing  about 
our  society  today  is  that  in  the  mad  lemminglike  rush  to  the 
urban,  antilove  power  centers  and  the  mad  rush  toward  me- 
chanical conformity,  our  fellow  citizens  are  leaving  tremendous 
gaps  and  gulfs  which  make  economic  bartering  very  simple.  For 
the  first  thing,  consider  moving  out  of  the  city.  You'll  find  ghost 
towns  empty  and  deserted  3  or  4  hours  from  San  Francisco 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  S60 

where  people  can  live  in  harmony  with  nature,  using  their  sense 
organs  as  2  billion  years  of  evolution  had  trained  them  to. 

To  make  a  living  these  days  for  a  psychedelic  person  is  really 
quite  easy.  How?  There's  one  thing  that  our  mechanized  society 
cannot  do  and  that  is,  delight  the  senses.  Machines  can  make 
things  go  faster  and  move  more  efficiently,  but  machine-made 
objects  make  no  sense  to  your  cells  or  your  senses.  Our  country- 
men are  fed  up  with  plastic  and  starved  for  direct,  natural 
sensory  stimulation.  As  you  begin  to  drop  out,  you  will  find 
yourself  much  less  reliant  on  artif actual  symbols.  You  will  start 
throwing  things  out  of  your  house.  And  you  won't  need  as 
much  mechanical  money  to  buy  as  many  mechanical  objects. 
When  you  go  home  tonight,  try  a  psychedelic  exercise.  Look 
around  your  living  room  and  your  study  and  dining  room  and 
ask  yourself  the  question  which  might  be  asked  by  a  man  who 
lived  3,000  years  ago,  or  a  man  from  another  planet:  "What  sort 
of  a  fellow  is  this  who  lives  in  a  room  like  this?"  Because  the 
artifacts  you  surround  yourself  with  are  external  representa- 
tions of  your  state  of  consciousness. 

It's  All  Going  to  Work  Out  All  Right 

And  now,  a  final  word  of  good  cheer,  directed  especially  to  those 
who  are  concerned  about  the  psychedelic  revolution.  This  revo- 
lution has  just  begun.  For  every  turned-on  person  today  I 
predict  that  there  will  be  2  or  3  next  year.  And  I'm  not  at  all 
embarrassed  about  making  this  prophecy  because  for  the  last  6 
years  Dr.  Alpert  and  Dr.  Metzner  and  I  have  been  making 
predictions  about  the  growth  of  the  new  race,  and  we  have 
always  been  too  conservative.  Let  no  one  be  concerned  about 
the  growth  and  the  use  of  psychedelic  chemicals.  Trust  your 
young  people.  You  gotta  trust  your  young  people.  You  had 
better  trust  your  young  people.  Trust  your  creative  minority. 
The  fact  of  the  matter  is  that  those  of  us  who  use  LSD  wish 
society  well.  In  our  way  we  are  doing  what  seems  best  and  right 
to  make  this  a  peaceful  and  happy  planet.  Be  very  careful  how 
you  treat  your  creative  minority,  because  if  we  are  crushed,  you 

The  Molecular  Revolution  [  361 

will  end  up  with  a  robot  society.  Trust  your  sense  organs  and 
your  nervous  system.  Your  divine  body  has  been  around  a  long, 
long  time.  Much  longer  than  any  of  the  social  games  you  play. 
Trust  the  evolutionary  process.  It's  all  going  to  work  out  all 


Neurological  Politics 

Declaration  of  Evolution 

When  in  the  course  of  organic  evolution  it  becomes  obvious 
that  a  mutational  process  is  inevitably  dissolving  the  physical 
and  neurological  bonds  which  connect  the  members  of  one 
generation  to  the  past  and  inevitably  directing  them  to  assume 
among  the  species  of  earth  the  separate  and  equal  station  to 
which  the  Laws  of  Nature  and  Nature's  God  entitle  them,  a 
decent  concern  for  the  harmony  of  species  requires  that  the 
causes  of  the  mutation  should  be  declared. 

We  hold  these  truths  to  be  self-evident: 

—That  all  species  are  created  different  but  equal; 

—That  they  are  endowed,  each  one,  with  certain  inalienable 

—That  among  them  are  Freedom  to  Live,  Freedom  to  Grow, 
and  Freedom  to  pursue  Happiness  in  their  own  style; 

—That  to  protect  these  God-given  rights,  social  structures 
naturally  emerge,  basing  their  authority  on  the  principles  of 
love  of  God  and  respect  for  all  forms  of  life; 

—That  whenever  any  form  of  government  becomes  destruc- 
tive of  life,  liberty,  and  harmony,  it  is  the  organic  duty  of  the 
young  members  of  that  species  to  mutate,  to  drop  out,  to 
initiate  a  new  social  structure,  laying  its  foundations  on  such 
principles  and  organizing  its  power  in  such  form  as  seems  likely 

[  362 

Neurological  Politics  [  363 

to  produce  the  safety,  happiness,  and  harmony  of  all  sentient 

Genetic  wisdom,  indeed,  suggests  that  social  structures  long 
established  should  not  be  discarded  for  frivolous  reasons  and 
transient  causes.  The  ecstasy  of  mutation  is  equally  balanced  by 
the  pain.  Accordingly  all  experience  shows  that  members  of  a 
species  are  more  disposed  to  suffer,  while  evils  are  sufferable, 
rather  than  to  discard  the  forms  to  which  they  are  accustomed. 

But  when  a  long  train  of  abuses  and  usurpations,  all  pursu- 
ing invariably  the  same  destructive  goals,  threaten  the  very 
fabric  of  organic  life  and  the  serene  harmony  on  the  planet,  it 
is  the  right,  it  is  the  organic  duty  to  drop  out  of  such  morbid 
covenants  and  to  evolve  new  loving  social  structures. 

Such  has  been  the  patient  sufferance  of  the  freedom-loving 
peoples  of  this  earth,  and  such  is  now  the  necessity  which  con- 
strains us  to  form  new  systems  of  government. 

The  history  of  the  white,  menopausal,  mendacious  men  now 
ruling  the  planet  earth  is  a  history  of  repeated  violation  of  the 
harmonious  laws  of  nature,  all  having  the  direct  object  of 
establishing  a  tyranny  of  the  materialistic  aging  over  the  gentle, 
the  peace-loving,  the  young,  the  colored.  To  prove  this,  let 
Facts  be  submitted  to  the  judgment  of  generations  to  come. 

—These  old,  white  rulers  have  maintained  a  continuous  war 
against  other  species  of  life,  enslaving  and  destroying  at  whim 
fowl,  fish,  animals  and  spreading  a  lethal  carpet  of  concrete  and 
metal  over  the  soft  body  of  earth. 

—They  have  maintained  as  well  a  continual  state  of  war 
among  themselves  and  against  the  colored  races,  the  freedom- 
loving,  the  gentle,  the  young.  Genocide  is  their  habit. 

—They  have  instituted  artificial  scarcities,  denying  peaceful 
folk  the  natural  inheritance  of  earth's  abundance  and  God's 

—They  have  glorified  material  values  and  degraded  the 

—They  have  claimed  private,  personal  ownership  of  God's 
land,  driving  by  force  of  arms  the  gentle  from  their  passage  on 
the  earth. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  364 

—In  their  greed  they  have  erected  artificial  immigration  and 
customs  barriers,  preventing  the  free  movement  of  people. 

—In  their  lust  for  control  they  have  set  up  systems  of  com- 
pulsory education  to  coerce  the  minds  of  the  children  and  to 
destroy  the  wisdom  and  innocence  of  the  playful  young. 

—In  their  lust  for  power  they  have  controlled  all  means  of 
communication  to  prevent  the  free  flow  of  ideas  and  to  block 
loving  exchanges  among  the  gentle. 

—In  their  fear  they  have  instituted  great  armies  of  secret 
police  to  spy  upon  the  privacy  of  the  pacific. 

—In  their  anger  they  have  coerced  the  peaceful  young  against 
their  will  to  join  their  armies  and  to  wage  murderous  wars 
against  the  young  and  gentle  of  other  countries. 

—In  their  greed  they  have  made  the  manufacture  and  selling 
of  weapons  the  basis  of  their  economies. 

—For  profit  they  have  polluted  the  air,  the  rivers,  the  seas. 

—In  their  impotence  they  have  glorified  murder,  violence, 
and  unnatural  sex  in  their  mass  media. 

—In  their  aging  greed  they  have  set  up  an  economic  system 
which  favors  age  over  youth. 

—They  have  in  every  way  attempted  to  impose  a  robot  uni- 
formity and  to  crush  variety,  individuality,  and  independence 
of  thought. 

—In  their  greed,  they  have  instituted  political  systems  which 
perpetuate  rule  by  the  aging  and  force  youth  to  choose  between 
plastic  conformity  or  despairing  alienation. 

—They  have  invaded  privacy  by  illegal  search,  unwarranted 
arrest,  and  contemptuous  harassment. 

—They  have  enlisted  an  army  of  informers. 

—In  their  greed  they  sponsor  the  consumption  of  deadly  tars 
and  sugars  and  employ  cruel  and  unusual  punishments  for  the 
possession  of  life-giving  alkaloids  and  acids. 

—They  never  admit  a  mistake.  They  unceasingly  trumpet  the 
virtue  of  greed  and  war.  In  their  advertising  and  in  their  manip- 
ulation of  information  they  make  a  fetish  of  blatant  falsity  and 
pious  self-enhancement.  Their  obvious  errors  only  stimulate 
them  to  greater  error  and  noisier  self-approval. 

Neurological  Politics  [  365 

—They  are  bores. 

—They  hate  beauty. 

—They  hate  sex. 

—They  hate  life. 

We  have  warned  them  from  time  to  time  to  their  inequities 
and  blindness.  We  have  addressed  every  available  appeal  to 
their  withered  sense  of  righteousness.  We  have  tried  to  make 
them  laugh.  We  have  prophesied  in  detail  the  terror  they  are 
perpetuating.  But  they  have  been  deaf  to  the  weeping  of  the 
poor,  the  anguish  of  the  colored,  the  rocking  mockery  of  the 
young,  the  warnings  of  their  poets.  Worshiping  only  force  and 
money,  they  listen  only  to  force  and  money.  But  we  shall  no 
longer  talk  in  these  grim  tongues. 

We  must  therefore  acquiesce  to  genetic  necessity,  detach  our- 
selves from  their  uncaring  madness  and  hold  them  henceforth 
as  we  hold  the  rest  of  God's  creatures— in  harmony,  life  brothers, 
in  their  excess,  menaces  to  life. 

We,  therefore,  God-loving,  peace-loving,  life-loving,  fun- 
loving  men  and  women,  appealing  to  the  Supreme  Judge  of  the 
Universe  for  the  rectitude  of  our  intentions,  do,  in  the  name 
and  by  the  Authority  of  all  sentient  beings  who  seek  gently  to 
evolve  on  this  planet,  solemnly  publish  and  declare  that  we  are 
free  and  independent,  and  that  we  are  absolved  from  all  Allegi- 
ance to  the  United  States  Government  and  all  governments  con- 
trolled by  the  menopausal,  and  that  grouping  ourselves  into 
tribes  of  like-minded  fellows,  we  claim  full  power  to  live  and 
move  on  the  land,  obtain  sustenance  with  our  own  hands  and 
minds  in  the  style  which  seems  sacred  and  holy  to  us,  and  to  do 
all  Acts  and  Things  which  independent  Freemen  and  Free- 
women  may  of  right  do  without  infringing  on  the  same  rights  of 
other  species  and  groups  to  do  their  own  thing. 

And  for  the  support  of  this  Declaration  of  Evolution  with  a 
firm  reliance  on  the  protection  of  Divine  Providence,  and 
serenely  confident  of  the  approval  of  generations  to  come,  in 
whose  name  we  speak,  do  we  now  mutually  pledge  to  each  other 
our  Lives,  our  Fortunes,  and  our  Sacred  Honor. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  366 

The  Constitution  of  Life 



Section  1:  The  Laws  of  God  as  expressed  in  the  evolving 
principles  of  Biology  and  Physics  are  the  Only  and  Supreme 
Power  of  the  Planet. 

Section  2:  The  governing  of  human  affairs  shall  be  based  on 
this  basic  principle:  Love  God  and  every  living  creature  as 

thyself.  LOVE-EVOLVE. 

Section  3:  No  rules  shall  be  established  by  man  which  inter- 
fere with  the  harmonies  and  rhythms  of  nature  or  the  rights 
of  Other  men  or  other  species  to  evolve  according  to  the  Divine 


Section  1 :    The  organization  of  Freemen  and  Freewomen  into 

small  social  units  for  the  purpose  of  physical  and  spiritual 

growth  is  recognized  as  a  basic  part  of  the  unfolding  Law  of 


Section  2:    Tribes  are  defined  by  territory  collectively  leased 

from  God  and  by  an  individual  tribal  style  of  life  and  worship 

freely  chosen. 

Section  3:  Tribes  shall  establish  game  rules  governing  their 

own  style  of  life  and  worship.  Such  rules  shall  have  authority 

Neurological  Politics  [  367 

only  within  the  tribal  territory  and  shall  not  interfere  with 
the  physical  and  spiritual  growth  of  other  species  in  their 
territory  and  other  species  and  tribes  outside  their  territory. 
Section  4:  The  territory  and  natural  resources  leased  by  any 
Tribe  shall  be  proportional  to  the  numbers  of  tribe  members. 
Section  5:  No  tribe  shall  number  more  than  360  persons  over 
the  age  of  fourteen  and  under  the  age  of  fifty  years. 
Section  6:  While  each  tribe  shall  evolve  its  own  style  of  self- 
government,  the  following  seed  principles  shall  not  be  violated: 

a.  No  tribe  shall  manufacture  or  possess  weapons  (mechani- 
cal, electrical,  or  chemical)  designed  to  maim  flesh,  cripple 
health,  wage  war  against  or  coerce  other  sentient  beings. 

b.  Police  shall  function  as  unarmed  umpires  to  supervise 
tribal  games  and  to  isolate  violence  in  emergencies.  No  person 
shall  exercise  police  or  judicial  authority  for  more  than  three 

c.  No  secret  police.  No  secrets  about  other  sentient  beings. 

d.  Each  tribe  shall  guarantee  free  and  equal  access  to  life- 
giving  energies.  Competition  and  artificial  scarcities  shall  be 
allowed  only  in  the  case  of  nonessential  things.  Competitive  and 
greed  games  shall  be  considered  as  therapeutic  expressions  of 
archaic  impulses,  throwbacks  to  earlier,  prehistoric  epochs. 

e.  The  exercise  of  tribal  authority— voting  and  rule  making- 
shall  be  considered  burdens  assigned  by  God  and  the  DNA 
code  to  the  tribal  seed  bearers,  those  between  the  ages  of 
fourteen  and  forty-nine  years.  Persons  under  the  age  of  fourteen 
and  over  the  age  of  forty-nine,  in  consonance  with  the  obvious 
directives  of  the  DNA  code,  shall  be  relieved  of  all  secular 
obligations  and  be  free  to  laugh,  learn,  play,  love  God  and 
exist  as  Holy  Children  of  the  Divine  Parents. 

f.  No  tribe  shall  allow  invasion  or  restriction  of  private  be- 
havior within  the  dwelling  places,  shrines,  or  bodies  of  Freemen 
and  Freewomen. 

g.  No  tribe  shall  compel  or  restrict  the  mode  of  education, 
free  movement,  or  free  communication  within  and  between  in- 
dividuals and  tribes. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [  S68 


Section  1:  Planetary  affairs  and  interplanetary  relations  shall 
be  governed  by  an  all-life  council.  The  all-life  council 
shall  protect  the  freedom  of  all  species  and  individuals  within 
the  territories  of  the  participant  tribes  and  shall  negotiate  on 
behalf  of  Freemen  and  Freewomen  with  nontribal  governments. 
Section  2:  The  deliberations  and  legislations  of  the  all-life 
COUNCIL  shall  be  binding  on  all  tribes. 

Section  3:  The  all-life  council  shall  be  composed  of  one 
representative,  democratically  elected,  from  each  tribe.  Tribal 
representatives  can  be  organized  into  regional  groupings.  The 
deliberations  and  votings  of  the  all-life  council  shall  utilize 
all  available  technical  means  for  enhancing  communication  and 
coordinating  information. 

Section  4:  The  all-life  council  shall  also  include  representa- 
tives of  every  other  species  of  life  on  the  planet  and  representa- 
tives from  future  generations.  These  spokesmen  for  infrahuman 
and  superhuman  evolutionary  forms  shall  be  selected  by  the 
ALL-LIFE  council  from  among  scientists  who  have  exhibited  con- 
cern for  and  knowledge  of  the  needs  of  infrahuman  and 
superhuman  generations. 

Section  5;  The  all-life  council  shall  coordinate  and  har- 
monize the  physical  and  spiritual  growth  of  each  tribe  and 
species  and  shall  not  establish  any  law  which  favors  the  growth 
of  any  species  or  tribe  at  the  expense  of  others.  Human  beings 
now  living  who  do  not  belong  to  tribes  of  Freemen  and  Free- 
women  shall  be  considered  and  honored  as  belonging  to  a 
different  species. 

Section  6:  A  founding  assembly  of  the  all-life  council  shall 
be  convened  at  the  call  of  forty-nine  tribes  of  Freemen  and 
Freewomen  who  have  maintained  territorial  harmony  under  a 
tribal  constitution  for  a  period  of  one  year. 


Neurological  Politics  [  369 

Reader — Write  Your  Own 

The    inflexible,    dogmatic    teachings    of    our    League    for 
Spiritual  Discovery  (which  naturally  change  every  few  weeks) 
hold  that  every  human  being  is  born  divine  and  that   the 
purpose  of  life  is  to  rediscover  your  forgotten  divinity. 

Specifically,  to  relive,  to  regenerate,  to  reenact  all  the  classic 
spiritual  dramas  in  your  own  seed  style  and  to  add  a  few 
flourishes  of  your  own  to  the  good  old  double-helical  fleshly 
prayer  wheel. 

Thus  we  suggest  that  anyone  who  takes  the  Divine  Plan 
seriously  will  inevitably  spend  some  time  and  energy  attending 
to  the  ancient  tasks. 

Start  Your  Own  Religion 

(Sorry,  baby,  no  one  else  can  do  it  for  you) 

Write  Your  Own  Bible 

The  Old  Testament  is  exactly  that.  Old.  The  garbled  trip 
diary  of  a  goofy  bunch  of  flipped-out  visionaries.  Don't  you 
know  that  God's  revelation  comes  to  us  today  clearer  and  more 
directly  than  it  did  to  Elijah,  Abraham,  Isaiah,  Jeremiah?  To 
deny  this  is  to  say  that  God  and  the  DNA  code  haven't  been 
busy  perfecting  the  means  of  communication,  the  cellular  re- 
ceiving sets.  Everything  you  ever  write  in  your  life  ends  up  as 
your  Bible.  The  record  of  your  voyage. 

Write  Your  Own  Ten  Commandments 

The  ethical  dilemmas  you  face  each  day  are  similar  to  but 
different  from  those  of  Moses.  His  tortured  hang-ups  are  not 
exactly  yours. 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  [370 

Start  Your  Own  Political  System 

On  earth  as  it  is  in  heaven. 

The  standard  operating  procedure  for  designing  a  life  of 
ecstatic  prayer  and  exultant  gratitude  is  to  write  your  own 
Declaration  of  Independence  and  constitute  your  own  vision 
of  the  holy  life. 

You  declare  why  and  how  you  must  drop  out.  The  DNA 
code  does  it  at  every  moment  of  moist,  electric  fusion.  We  were 
all  conceived  in  orgasm. 

The  Declaration  of  Independence  and  the  Constitution 
written  by  rebellious  American  colonists  expressed,  in  1776, 
some  far-out  notions.  But  there  have  been  eight  generations 
since  then. 

Today  these  two  powerful  documents  are  dangerously  out  of 
date.  Dead  parchment.  You  can't  preserve  Jefferson's  seed 
under  glass  in  the  Library  of  Congress. 

The  Declaration  and  the  Constitution  reflect  the  vision  of  a 
mechanical,  Newtonian  clockwork  universe.  A  static,  Darwinian 
view  of  organic  evolution.  Survival  of  the  fittest.  Pick  that 
cotton,  black  boy!  A  bullet  in  your  head,  Sitting  Bull!  The 
horrid  assumption  that  the  white  Protestant  human  being  is 
the  center  and  measure  of  all  things.  Anthropocentric  myopia. 
No  planetary  perspective. 

The  obsession  with  property,  possessions,  secular  power. 

Do  you  really  want  to  live  out  the  trip  of  bourgeois,  slave- 
holding,  puritanical  Calvinists? 

A  basic  exercise  for  the  Freeman  and  the  Freewoman  is  to 
declare  and  constitute  your  own  righteous  way. 

On  June  6,  1966  (the  day  on  which  the  Sacrament  LSD  was 
declared  illegal  in  the  State  of  California) ,  three  young  holy 
men  in  the  city  of  St.  Francis  got  high  and  declared  their  version 
of  the  vision:  Ron  Thelin,  Michael  Bowen,  Allen  Cohen. 

Neurological  Politics  [  371 

A  Prophecy  of  A  Declaration  of  Independence 

When  in  the  flow  of  human  events  it  becomes  necessary  for  the 
people  to  cease  to  recognize  the  obsolete  social  patterns  which 
have  isolated  man  from  his  consciousness  and  to  create  with 
the  youthful  energies  of  the  world  revolutionary  communities 
of  harmonious  relations  to  which  the  two-billion-year-old  life 
process  entitles  them,  a  decent  respect  to  the  opinions  of  man- 
kind should  declare  the  causes  which  impel  them  to  this 
creation  *  We  hold  these  experiences  to  be  self-evident,  that 
all  is  equal,  that  the  creation  endows  u^  with  certain  inalien- 
able rights,  that  among  these  are:  the  freedom  of  body,  the 
pursuit  of  joy,  and  the  expansion  of  consciousness  *  and  that 
to  secure  these  rights,  we  the  citizens  of  the  earth  declare  our 
love  and  compassion  for  all  conflicting  hate-carrying  men  and 
women  of  the  world. 

We  declare  the  identity  of  flesh  and  consciousness;  all  reason 
and  law  must  respect  and  protect  this  holy  identity. 

This  chapter  presents  another  version  of  the  City  of  God, 
written  in  those  last  days  of  the  empire  when  assassination 
ruled  the  land  and  when  gun-collecting  huntsmen,  themselves 
beneficiaries  of  the  sharpshooters'  aim,  looked  out  the  bullet- 
proof windows  of  the  executive  mansions  in  Sacramento,  Cali- 
fornia, and  Montgomery,  Alabama,  and  Washington,  D.C.,  and 
denounced  the  gentle  blacks,  the  graceful  browns,  the  laughing 
students,  the  gentle  longhairs. 

Reader,  write  your  own  Politics  of  Ecstasy. 



Classic  works  by  20th  Century  visionaries 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy 

by  Timothy  Leary,  PhD 



"The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  provides  a  more  accurate  picture  of  the 
brave  neuronaut  whom  I  believe  to  be  the  Galileo  of  our  age, 
albeit  a  Galileo  possessed  of  considerable  Irish  blarney  (which 
makes  him  all  the  more  agreeable).  Of  more  importance, 
perhaps,  is  the  light  this  book  casts  on  the  century's  outlaw 
decade  at  a  time  when  Sixties  revisionism  is  epidemic." 
— Tom  Robbins 

The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  is  Timothy  Leary's  most  significant  work  on  the  social 
and  political  ramifications  of  psychedelics.  First  published  in  1968,  this  col- 
lection spans  the  period  from  research  at  Harvard  to  the  San  Francisco 
Summer  of  Love.  Included  are:  The  Seven  Tongues  of  God,  The  Fifth  Free- 
dom— The  Right  to  Get  High,  Ecstasy  Attacked — Ecstasy  Defended,  The 
Magical  Mystery  Trip,  She  Comes  in  Colors,  Hormonal  Politics:  The  Meno- 
pausal Left-Right  and  the  Seed  Center,  Poet  of  the  Interior  Journey,  A  Trip 
with  Paul  Krassner,  Start  Your  Own  Religion,  American  Education  as  an 
Addictive  Process  and  Its  Cure,  Soul  Session,  God's  Secret  Agent  A.O.S.3, 
M.I.T.  is  TT.M.  Spelled  Back-  wards.  The  Budha  as  Drop  Out,  The  Mad 
Virgin  of  Psychedelia,  and  more.  Much  of  The  Politics  of  Ecstasy  appeared  in 
a  variety  of  publications  including  The  Psychedelic  Review,  The  Bulletin  of 
Atomic  Scientists,  Esquire,  Harvard  Review,  Playboy,  The  Realist,  Evergreen 
Review  and  The  San  Francisco  Oracle. 

"Dr.  Leary  is  a  hero  of  American 
consciousness.  He  began  as 
a  sophisticated  academician, 
he  encountered  discoveries  in  his 
field  which  confounded  him  and  ... 
he  pursued  his  studies  ... 
beyond  the  boundaries 
of  public  knowledge." 
-  -  Allen  Ginsberg 

This  edition  has  an  introduction  by 
Tom  Robbins,  a  new  essay  by 
Timothy  Leary  about  youth 
revolutions  in  the  20th  Century, 
and  illustrations  and  historical  note 
from  Michael  Horowitz,  Timothy 
Leary' s  archivist  and  bibliographer. 

Ronin  Publishing,  Inc. 

Box  522  Berkeley  CA  94701 

$1 6.95  Social  Sciences/New  Age        ISBN  0-9141 71  -33-X